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Industry mourns loss of former IPA Director General Nick Phillips

Nick Phillips, the former Director General of the IPA between 1989 and 2001 and Honorary FIPA, FIAPI, F.CAM, FMRS, has died aged 73.


Phillips passed away peacefully at Charing Cross hospital on the morning of the 7th October 2014, after a short illness. He is survived by his loving wife Katherine, and children, Claire, Christopher and Benedict.

Phillips succeeded David Wheeler as Director General of the IPA in 1989 and stepped down in 2001. During these 13 years, Phillips was credited for modernising the IPA and attracting leading industry figures to serve as President including; Peter Mead, Chris Powell, John Bartle, and Rupert Howell. He also forged stronger links with ISBA and served on the BARB board representing the IPA’s interests, before being appointed as its Chairman.

While at the IPA he was also a member of the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA) and a member (and former Chairman) of its National Associations’ Council. He was a member of the U.K. Government’s Advisory Committee on Advertising and the Creative Industries Export Promotion Advisory Group. In this capacity he organised the IPA’s first visits to China and Moscow in the 1990’s. He represented the IPA on a number of industry bodies including the Council and Executive Committee of the Advertising Association (AA), the Council of the National Advertising Benevolent Society (NABS) and the boards of the Audit Bureau of Circulations Ltd. (ABC), The Advertising Standards Board of Finance Ltd. (ASBOF), Joint Industry Committee for Regional Press Research (JICREG), Mail Order Protection Scheme (MOPS), National Readership Surveys Ltd. (NRS) (of which he is vice-Chairman), Poster Audience Research (POSTAR) and Radio Joint Audience Research Ltd. (RAJAR).

Says Ian Priest, IPA President: “Nick’s background in media research made him perfectly placed to develop the IPA’s involvement in all the key ‘media currencies’ which are the basis of trading in the UK. In support of Rupert Howell as President, he championed media agencies as members of the IPA in their own right, and this has been fundamental. Without these core members and close relationships with media owners we could never have launched TouchPoints, which continues to add to the strength of our association.”

Upon the announcement of his retirement, Campaign described Phillips as “donnish, cerebral, well-ordered and with an infinite capacity to absorb and even enjoy the minutiae of research”. The magazine also asked whether the IPA could find itself another “dynamic diplomat” to succeed him, which it duly did in Hamish Pringle who they said “would find the IPA in good order”.

Says Hamish Pringle, Director General, IPA 2001-11: “The foundations Nick laid enabled us to do many innovative things and build the IPA into the highly effective and respected agency trade association it is today. In particular I recall his support for the financing and publishing of the E-Media book, which placed the IPA firmly in the digital arena, and the Bellwether Report, which has done so much to register our industry’s key position in the eyes of the City and politicians.”

Following his retirement, Phillips continued to contribute and support the IPA and its initiatives. For example, he was the architect of the first IPA mentoring scheme which drew on the experience of FIPAs for agency senior management.

His career before the IPA included a directorship of Granada Television, Marketing Services Director of Beecham Products and Head of Research at the Central Office of Information.

Says Paul Bainsfair, Director General, IPA: “Nick Phillips presided over another period of change for the IPA and was DG when it celebrated its 75th anniversary. He was proud to develop the IPA’s Effectiveness, Media Research and Professional Development programmes and was rightly proud of the people he put in place to begin these journeys: Janet Hull, Lynne Robinson, and Miranda Kennett. He is remembered very fondly by us, and was a regular at our annual New Year Reception. We send our deepest sympathies to his family at this very sad time.”

Says Roger Holland, Executive Chairman, JICPOPS: "Among several leisure pursuits was joining a group of ancient advertising blokes to climb Snowdonian mountains once a year. His climbing was pedestrian but his table tennis was superb. Tributes coming in from this group include ‘I will miss one of the kindest, most charming men I have met.’ That’s shared by all of us."

Says John Bartle, IPA President, 1995-1997 & Founder BBH: "Few people have made as big a contribution to our industry as Nick Phillips. As the IPA Director General, he had all the necessary qualities, in abundance. He was always honourable, diligent, ordered, considerate and wise. He made many of us look a lot better than we were. An outstanding Director General, an outstanding representative of our industry but, much more importantly, an outstanding man. A friend and colleague since well before either of us moved into the agency world, I will miss him. And we should all be grateful for him."

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, 8th November at 3pm at St Mary’s Church, Barnes.

Address - Church Rd, Barnes, London SW13 9HL. 


Last updated 14/10/2014

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