Matt is a passionate and tireless supporter in the fight against cancer. In memory of his brother Chris, who died at age 37 to a glioblastoma brain tumor, Matt established the Head for the Cure Foundation in 2007 to raise awareness and funding for brain cancer research. Proceeds from Head for the Cure 5K run/walks, now in 25 markets, are directed to the Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative, a consortium of 34 brain cancer centers across the US; and brain tumor clinics in cities nationwide. Over the past 15 years, more than $25 million has been raised through Head for the Cure events, to fund brain cancer.
Prior to founding Head for the Cure, Matt and Chris were co-chairs of the inaugural Shave to Save in September 2002, He has maintained his involvement every year since — as a donor and encouraging corporate support for the cause, particularly through VML.
Professionally, Matt has held leadership positions in top global advertising firms throughout his career. Matt joined VML as its fourth partner in 1994. At the time, VML had one major client and fewer than 20 employees. He was appointed VML’s first CEO in 1999 and held that position through 2011. Over 15 years, Matt led the formerly small Kansas City-based company’s expansion to a formidable global agency with more than 1500 employees. In 2001, Matt guided VML’s decision to join the WPP Group of leading communication agencies, and then managed the agency’s alignment into Y&R Group five years later. Matt was named Advertising Professional of the Year by the American Advertising Federation of Kansas City for lifetime contributions to the advertising and marketing profession.
Matt stepped down as VML CEO in 2012, appointing his long-time partner, Jon Cook as its second CEO. From 2011-2013, Matt served as Chief Digital Officer of Young & Rubicam Group. From 2013- 2016 he served as President and CEO, Y&R North America. He continued to serve on Y&R’s Executive Board and support the firm in a consulting capacity until it merged with VML in 2023. Matt is currently Chairman Emeritus of VML. Matt is a founding partner of BrandWell Partners, an active marketing consultancy focused on brand building and activation, primarily in the healthcare and non-profit sectors in 2010,
Matt serves on the advisory board of the VMLY&R Foundation, the philanthropic arm of VML. He also holds board positions with several social cause-oriented non-profits, including Chairman of the Head for the Cure Foundation, the Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative (BTTC), the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors (Houston, Texas), and is a past Board member of the Partnership for a Healthy America (DC-based), the American Association of Advertising Agencies (NY-based). He holds professional Board positions on Ripple Glass and MobileUp software.
Matt is an avid cyclist, snow skier, traveler, and moviegoer; and enjoys spending time with his wife Ann, and their adult children and their spouses.