How would you describe yourself in three words?
Convivial, loyal and enigmatic.
What was your first job in media?
I started at Young & Rubicam as a TV buyer. Back at Y&R, media people and creative people had the best of relationships, forged inevitably in a local pub. There was something surreal and fascinating about discussing the Honey Monster, Tell Sid and of course the latest task for Pirelli over a few beers. To this day, I’ve still spent more time in fullservice than independents and this was in part the motive for starting a new company.
What does it take to make it big in advertising?
There are, of course, a number of ways to make it big in advertising and I’ve watched people apply different approaches very effectively. The reality is that you simply need to be yourself. Of course, you can amplify some of your more positive traits and camouflage the negative ones.
However, try to pretend to be something you’re not and, even in this industry, you will be found out.
What is the best piece of advice ever given to you? Whenever I think about this question, my mind starts rattling off the numerous proverbs that I learnt either from my grandparents or at school. The vast majority have been requoted for thousands of years and frankly hold true today.
There is a rather good Polish one that goes some way to explaining our company name; Co byBo pierwsze kura czy jajko. Literally, eggs cannot teach a hen.
Who is the person you most admire in the media industry?
Referring back to the question that asks how you make it big in advertising, another solution is to surround yourself with great people and their greatness will rub off. This therefore applies to the more senior people you work for and equally to those you employ. So, I admire (and they will know who they are)Don, Simon, Stevie and James and David, not to mention, Simon, Andrew, Lucienne, Paul, Chris, Mike and David and finally Simon, Nick, Clive, Nils, Grace and Christian.
What has been the most embarrassing moment in your career so far?
I am easily embarrassed, so my defences are generally on high alert. This has failed on a number of occasions and frankly I’m too embarrassed to admit anything and, in particular, give credit to those who were the cause (Simon).
What has been your biggest regret?
Apart from agreeing to write this, it is probably not being in a position to exploit the brilliance that was Y&R’s media department back in the early ’90s. For various reasons, our global management took too long to agree a relevant future and went for an illogical merger.
Also, and not unconnected, not starting my own business sooner and being in a position to make my own decisions.
What is the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning? Switch on the PC, then get the IT guys to fix it.
What is the most exciting aspect of your job?
From a generic point of view, it is the staggering variety of client contact. It never fails to amaze me that in the morning you can be discussing an airline’s business objectives and then an hour later a bank’s and finish off the day with an FMCG advertiser.
Different people with different challenges who all need different approaches and different solutions. From a personal point of view, running your own business has dramatic highs and lows and the simple objective is to keep the highs higher than the lows are low.
And what do you least enjoy doing?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
That’s easy – from October to March, I will be in Cape Town, from April to June in the UK and from July to September in France.
I will be sailing, salmon fishing or playing golf with my three sons.
2004 Partner Experience Communications
2003 Managing director ZenithOptimedia
2001 Managing director Optimedia
1996 Managing partner Optimedia
1994 Media director Y&R
1987 Broadcast director Y&R
1982 Graduate trainee Y&R TV department