GroupM CEO John Steedman (pictured) has paid tribute to Harold Mitchell, who is set to retire in August, but warned the Aegis group that it faces a tough task replacing him.
Steedman called Mitchell “an icon” of the industry and hailed him as one of the pioneers of media independence in Australia.
"Harold is an iconic figure, well respected, and has done exceptionally well in terms of his business,” Steedman told B&T.
“With him going, I guess the issue for the agency is that it doesn’t really have an heir apparent within Australia to take on the stature that he held in the market place here. It’s going to be a challenge for the organisation,” he added.
Ian Perrin, CEO at ZenithOptimedia, agreed that Mitchell remains an icon in the industry, adding that he expects a seamless transition following his departure.
“He has built an incredible business and I don’t expect any damage to the agency following his departure. He was always meticulous in his business so I don’t expect the succession plan to be any different,” said Perrin.
Mark Coad, CEO of PHD, said the media buying industry will miss Mitchell and that he's a figure that commands a huge amount of respect.