John Hooper, the high-profile director general of the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA), will stand down next year to make way for a younger candidate.
ISBA is expected to advertise for a replacement in the next two weeks. Hooper has been in the job for five years.
ISBA spokesman Joe Lamb says: “It was always agreed that Hooper would step down when he turned 60, which he does next year. He may well continue with ISBA in a different role.”
ISBA represents more than 300 of UK’s largest advertisers, representing an estimated &£3.5bn above-the-line adspend. Last year, its members’ combined television spend reached &£2.5bn.
During Hooper’s time as director, ISBA came in for criticism for not doing enough to fight a tobacco ad ban. He also fronted controversial campaigns to increase the number of commercial breaks on ITV, and to allow ads on the BBC.
Hooper trained as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble, before becoming a freelance consultant in the US. In 1974, he co-founded marketing and sales promotion company Clarke Hooper, from which he took early retirement in 1991.
In 1995, Hooper replaced former director general Ken Miles, who retired at 65 after 15 years in the job.
Sources believe ISBA wants to appoint a replacement for Hooper by the spring, to work alongside him.
A possible contender to replace Hooper is Central Office of Information director general Carol Fisher.