Ritchie nets IPG sports role

IPG-owned Octagon has appointed Alasdair Ritchie to the new role of president, marketing for Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia for its merged sports marketing arms API and Advantage International.

Last month Ritchie resigned from TBWA, where he was senior vice-president of worldwide operations as a result of the merger of GGT and TBWA Simons Palmer (MW September 24).

He said at the time: “After the merger it is simply a question of three into two won’t go,” referring to the number of senior agency executives competing for key global posts.

API and Advantage International have combined billings of around 300m. Together, they are the second largest sports agency in the world, behind Mark McCormack’s International Management Group (IMG), which has billings of 750m.

Ritchie says: “There has been a lot of growth in this industry, and there are great opportunities here. IMG has been the leader in this market and we want to challenge that.”

At the same time, the company will also drop its API name – the most famous brand in UK sports marketing – and trade solely under Advantage.

A spokesman explains: “API is known in the UK, but globally Advantage has more brand equity, which is why we chose that name.”

Ritchie will be responsible for the business everywhere outside the US, where Harlan Stone is president, marketing for North America.

UK managing director John Perera will report to Ritchie, while Ritchie will report to Lee Fentress, who is chairman of Advantage.

API’s former boss, the ex-400 metres runner Alan Pascoe, sold his remaining shares in the company and set up athletics sponsorship outfit Fast Track in May. He has stated that he plans to set up another sponsorship company unconnected with athletics.

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