02/11/2004 - 21:00

Marketforce icon retires ... sort of

02/11/2004 - 21:00

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Marketforce chairman Howard Read has announced he will partially retire from the business at the end of this year.

Marketforce icon retires ... sort of

Marketforce chairman Howard Read has announced he will partially retire from the business at the end of this year.

The local advertising industry has long speculated on when Mr Read would hand over the reins to his protege, John Driscoll, who is currently Marketforce group managing director.

Mr Driscoll will assume the position as chairman from January 1 2005, while Mr Read will remain at the agency two days a week.

Mr Read said he was keen to pursue his interests with other companies and devote more time to his honorary roles on various boards or associations, such as the WA Olympic Council and the St Vincent de Paul Society retail centres.

“I’m a director in a company called Brainy Toys, which will eventually go public, and I’ve got a lot of honorary jobs that will keep me busy,” he said. 

“I’ll leave the golf up to the guys in the agency.

“I’ve been in business for 44 years, much of it at a senior level, and I would regard myself as a failure if I couldn’t pass on my knowledge to companies in other areas of the business.”

Mr Read joined Marketforce 26 years ago as a general manager, moving into advertising after a career in marketing, including a stint with Bond Corp.

In that time he’s grown the business from a staff of 27 people and annual billings of $4 million to an agency that employs more than 100 people and has billings of $140 million.

But he leaves the role to a man who himself has accomplished some major feats since his appointment as Marketforce media director in 1989.

Mr Driscoll won Campaign Brief’s ‘ad person of the year’ award earlier this year.

Shortly after the awards Campaign Brief awards judge Martin Trevaskis said Marketforce had been in a fairly precarious situation during 2003 and it was largely through Mr Driscoll’s commitment and hard work that the business ended up performing well.

“There were two significant achievements,” Mr Trevaskis said.

“One was being reinstated as the government media agency [$40 million contract]. The other was Mike Edmonds’ [creative director] decision to resign. That could have been a PR nightmare because they made such a big deal about attracting him over. Then, after two years, he leaves.

“But John turned it into a PR coup by attracting Andrew Tinning here. Andrew is the best credentialled creative to work in Perth.”

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