Three top trade bodies are on the hunt for someone to step into their exiting chiefs’ shoes. It will be a tough call for the chosen ones, who face the challenge of defending the industry against ethical and legislative pressures, as well as navigating a different work environment, says Martin Croft
The top jobs at three of the most influential trade bodies in marketing have come up for grabs simultaneously. Malcolm Earnshaw, director-general of the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and Andrew Brown, director-general of the Advertising Association (AA) have both announced that they are stepping down.
And Christine Cryne, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, has quit after barely a year in the job to take a position in the civil service. Cryne is the fourth person to head the CIM in four years.
The hunt for new leadership at ISBA and the AA comes at a crucial time for the marketing industry. Having lost the battle over tobacco advertising, it now faces some of its biggest challenges ever, including: the increasing pressure to ban or reduce advertising for alcoholic drinks; an onslaught over putative links between obesity and soft drink and snack food marketing; attacks on any forms of marketing to children; the increasing fragmentation of the media landscape; the apparently inexorable rise of online advertising; and a general growth in regulation across Europe.
ISBA has set up a three-man committee to draw up a shortlist of candidates, which will then be put forward to the ISBA Council. This committee consists of Chris Searle of Bacardi-Martini; Raoul Pinnell, chairman of Shell Brands International; and Phil Smith, commercial and operations director of Camelot Group (MW last week).
Names already being suggested as potential candidates include: Douglas McArthur, founder of the Radio Advertising Bureau (now the Radio Centre); former Toyota GB commercial director Mike Moran; Martin Runnacles, former global marketing director of Jaguar and currently a director of marketing agency Presky Maves; ex-NatWest and Inland Revenue marketing director Ian Schoolar; ISBA director of public affairs Ian Twinn; and ISBA director of media and advertising Bob Wootton, who was runner-up when Earnshaw was appointed. An ISBA spokesman says the process could take as long as nine months, and Malcolm Earnshaw has agreed to stay until his successor is found.
At the AA, Andrew Brown will step down at the end of 2006 after 13 years as director-general. There are strong indications that his successor will be Jean Coussins, current chief executive of drinks industry trade organisation The Portman Group. She is leaving in September after running the body for ten years.
The AA recruitment process is being overseen by Mark Lund, chief executive of Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, who is also AA chairman.
ISBA is arguably the more important of the two bodies. But it must be remembered that it represents the interests of the UK’s clients – the companies that spend money on advertising and marketing. It does not speak for the marketing services industry. Agencies and individuals who provide the services to the clients have their own representative bodies, with the AA being perhaps the most significant.
Colin Lloyd was a founder of sales promotion giant Kingsland Lloyd Petersen (KLP) and later became chief executive of the Direct Marketing Association (UK), pushing through a raft of changes and initiatives, including the Mailing Preference Service. Not everyone in direct marketing was in agreement with his decisions, but many observers now accept that he was a good ambassador.
Lloyd says/ “There are two sorts of trade association: those that lead the industry, and those that follow it. The latter are basically secretariats, doing what the industry tells them to.”
He adds that running an industry-leading trade body is “bloody difficult”. Candidates will need management and diplomacy skills, experience of dealing with industry and government at the highest levels, the ability to cope with running what is in effect a small business, entrepreneurial qualities and charismatic leadership attributes.
Yet Lloyd fails to list another quality he was able to bring to running the DMA: his own money. KLP was bought by RSCG for &£32m in 1990, so when Lloyd joined the DMA (UK) he did it because he wanted to, not because he needed the job. One DMA board member reportedly said at the time: “The reason Colin does what he does for us is because he has ‘fuck you’ money.”
In some ways, running the AA is a greater challenge than running ISBA, Lloyd argues, because “it is an association of associations – it has 31 members, all of which are trade bodies with their own directors-general. Finding Brown’s replacement will be very difficult.”
Having said that, ISBA seems by far the bigger job, and the body has definitely been taking the lead role in putting the case for marketing to politicians and civil servants in the UK and Europe.
ISBA was founded in 1900 by seven of the country’s biggest advertisers to push independent auditing of newspaper and magazine circulations, and was fundamental in the eventual creation of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). Today, it has some 400 members (double the number a decade ago), including 27 of the UK’s top 30 advertisers by spend, and an annual budget of &£2m. It is generally a much more modern, streamlined operation.
In the past couple of years, ISBA has bolstered its reputation as the best representative of British advertisers by successfully fighting on issues such as the extension of the self-regulatory system to cover broadcast advertising, and the impact of the merger of Carlton and Granada on the cost of ITV airtime. Under Earnshaw and his predecessor, John Hooper, it has developed a wide range of member services.
Hooper was something of a dark horse when he was named director-general, and there are marked contrasts between his management style and that of Earnshaw, old ISBA hands agree. While Hooper was charismatic and sociable, Earnshaw has been “more serious”, as one insider puts it, more interested in internal effectiveness than external show.
Earnshaw joined ISBA after a 33-year career at Mars. He has also been ISBA vice-chairman, chairman of its executive committee and a president of the World Federation of Advertisers. While ISBA officially says it will consider candidates from any background (Hooper was an agency man, having set up sales promotion group Clark Hooper), most insiders believe it will appoint someone with a similar background to Earnshaw – although probably with one slight addition.
As one ISBA expert says: “Earnshaw is a superb marketer who understands brands and the advertising agenda implicitly. But he would be the first to admit that new technology is not his strongest point. Also, he has been working since he was 21 – he’s now nearly 60. He wants a break.”
But the switch between being a senior marketer and running a trade body is not an easy one, as Guy Phillipson, chief executive of the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), can testify. Phillipson, who was head of marketing for Vodafone UK before taking the IAB role in January 2005, spent years serving on ISBA committees and working with the Radio Advertising Bureau.
Phillipson admits that running a trade body is “a completely different world to being a senior marketer”. In his opinion, whoever becomes director-general of ISBA must understand the landscape is changing rapidly. He adds: “There is a need for someone who can understand digital and advise companies on restructuring their marketing departments from the bottom up, to function in a digital world.”
Matthew Hooper is a former chief executive of sales promotion group Interfocus, and was chairman of industry body The Marketing Communication Consultants Association. He says recruiting someone to run a trade body is like “replacing the manager of a football team – everyone has an opinion.” And he concludes: “The danger is that in trying to please everybody, you can end up with the lowest common denominator – just look at some of the political leaders chosen in the past decade.”â¢