In 1973 when the company was established by Lee Byung-chul, the Korean entrepreneur who founded Samsung Group, the official name was Cheil Communications. It began conducting Korea's first nationwide lifestyle surveys in 1977; set up a joint venture with Bozell in 1989; and set up Hakuhodo-Cheil in 1999. The company changed its name to Cheil Worldwide in 2008.
Cheil Worldwide opened its first international branch office in Tokyo in 1988 and established Cheil USA 4 years later. From the late 2000s, it began to acquire stakes in overseas agencies. It acquired a stake in London-based agency Beattie McGuinness Bungay in 2008 and New York-based digital shop, The Barbarian Group in 2009. In order to gain further foothold in the US and China, Cheil bought two more agencies in 2012, McKinney and Bravo Asia, respectively.
In May 2013, Cheil Worldwide revealed a new corporate identity complete with a new logo and a new slogan "Ideas that Move". Most recently in December 2013, it opened a new office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, increasing the company's global footprint to a total 35 countries. As of March 2015, Cheil has 48 offices and 8 affiliates across 41 countries.
In November 2014, it announced that it had signed a deal to acquire a significant initial investment in the UK-based agency iris worldwide. The deal will potentially rise to 100% of the business over the next five years.
A wider range of Cheil's works was recognized in 2012. Award wins include 12 Cannes Lions including 3 Gold  and 1 Grand Prix at the Spikes Asia  in which Simon Hong, Cheil's Executive Creative Director, presented a seminar session on "Nothing Ever Becomes Real Till It Is Experienced". He discussed about the brand experience for consumers and how important is creativity and technology. Earlier in the same year, Cheil partnered with K-Pop group 2NE1 to host a seminar at the Cannes Lions. The session was about how digital technology has driven the "Korean Wave"; how K-pop is taking over the world through digital and social media; and what it means for advertising.
In 2013, The Barbarian Group, an American digital agency acquired by Cheil in 2009, won an Innovation Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions. Adding to the list of awards, the Bridge of Life won a Grand CLIO award for Public Relations  and two Gold and a Titanium at the Cannes Lions. At the Cannes Lions 2013, Cheil UK took one Gold and two Bronze for We are David Bailey campaign; German office's Free the Forced scooped one Gold, one Silver and four Bronze. Later in 2013 at the Eurobest, Simon Hathaway and Daniele Fiandaca from Cheil talked about the emergence of shopper marketing and what the rest of world can learn about the field from South Korea.
Cheil once again spoke at the Cannes Lions seminar in June 2014, with a guest speaker from Samsung Electronics. The seminar addressed how the age of mobile has fundamentally changed the way we live our lives, and how it has changed companies which have to market their products and services to this fast-changing generation of mobile.