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Influential Tesco, John Lewis, Diageo and more marketers feature in Debrett's top 500 list


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

January 23, 2017 | 6 min read

The Debrett 500 list, a ranking of Britain’s 500 most influential people, has recognised the nations most influential business people, featuring numerous prominent figures from the advertising industry.

Debrette list

Debrette list

The list covers across 22 sectors, including politics, business, education, law, sport, stage & screen, fashion & art, additionally, 225 of the participants are new to the list.

In the advertising, marketing and PR sector the list is as follows.

Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive, WPP Group, 61

A prominent voice in the business and advertising industries, the head of the WPP network earns a contentious £70m wage, indicative of his worth to the company.

He is s a lead voice on the stability of the markets following Facebook's metric miscalculations, Brexit and Donald Trump's ascendency to president.

The WPP Group owns the largest media buying group in the world -Grouop M - and owns ad networks including Grey, Ogilvy & Mather and Burson-Marsteller.

Michelle McEttrick, group brand director, Tesco

Spearheading Tesco's brand shake up after her time as Barclay's brand boss, McEttrick has helped steer a recent return to form from the supermarket.

Now the company is at a stage where it can say consumer trust is at a four year high, while it is now also the most improved UK brand according to the BrandIndex Buzz Score research.

Craig Inglis, customer director, John Lewis, 48

The man credited for initiating John Lewis' momentously successful Christmas campaigns. He's now pushing a consumer focused drive at the retailer.

Inglis began his career at Thomson Holidays, before moving to Virgin, and then John Lewis.

Ajaz Ahmed, co-founder and chief executive of AKQA, 43

Ajaz Ahmed and James Hilton founded AKQA when they were both just 21 in 1994. Since then it's expanded beyond the UK and has snapped up clients like Nike, Call of Duty and BBC Worldwide. Speaking to The Drum, Ahmed has discussed what it takes to be a great leader.

Karen Blackett, OBE, chair, MediaCom UK, 45

As Medicom's UK spokesperson, Karen Blackett told The Drum back in November that a Donald Trump presidential victory would have a negative effect on women - even in the UK.

She serves as a prominent voice on equality and diversity and is the president of Nabs.

MediaCom clients include Sky, Volkswagen and GlaxoSmithKline

Helen Calcraft, founding partner, Lucky Generals, 49

Ad veteran Helen Calcraft serves as a founding partner of Lucky Generals. Throughout her career she has worked with Waitrose, Virgin and the Department of Health, as well as Hovis.

Currently Omnicom's TBWA advertising network is considering a stake in Lucky Generals.

Rita Clifton, CBE, chair, Brandcap, 58

Rita Clifton founded Brandcap in 2013, under the the principle that a company’s brand is its most important asset. She works with clients including BBC Worldwide, Christie’s and ITV.

Matthew Freud, chief executive, Freuds, 53

Matthew Freud founded Freuds at the age of 22, he now works with clients including Burberry, Google, Mars, Pepsi and Chiltern Firehouse.

Johnny Hornby, founding partner, The & Partnership, 49

The & Partnership oversees 10 comms businesses and handles clients including The Times, British Gas, Argos and GSK.

In 2015, he discussed the future of news organisations with Piers Morgan.

Annette King, chief executive, Ogilvy & Mather Group UK

After joining OgilvyOne in 2000 she has risen to the top spot in O&M UK.

Her clients include Amnesty International and American Express and the work she is most proud of was micro-chipped leaflets for the Battersea Dogs Home.

James Murphy, co-founder, Adam&Eve DDB

Head of the agency behind the John Lewis Christmas ads, handled by Craig Inglis (also on the last), Murphy oversaw Buster the Boxer, which became the most shared ad of the year.

He co-founded Adam&Eve in 2008 and in 2012 it merged with DDB, and is now owned by Omnicom.

Sir Alan Parker, founder, Brunswick Group, 60

Alan Parker is the chairman of Brunswick, an advisory firm which he founded back as early as 1987. Well respected in the industry he can boast that former PMs both Gordon Brown and David Cameron attended his wedding.

The PR and lobbying group has offices in 14 countries. He recently took a fair slice of the expected £36bn acquisition of BG Group by Royal Dutch Shell, for advising the company.

Lindsay Pattison, global chief executive, Maxus, 43

In 2014, Lindsay Pattison became the first female global CEO of within WPP's GroupM.

Group M clients include BT, L’Oréal and Barclays.

She is a leading commenter on the gender pay gap disparity in the industry.

Roland Rudd, co-founder and chair, Finsbury, 55

Roland Rudd founded global comms company firm Finsbury in 1994 which has grown to have 12 offices on three continents.

Similarly to Alan Parker, Rudd also enjoyed a sizeable dividend from the expected £36bn acquisition of BG Group.

Syl Saller, chief marketing officer, Diageo PLC, 59

Since 2013, Syl Saller has overlooked brands including Smirnoff, Baileys, Tanqueray and Guinness for Diageo.

With 20 years experience under her belt, she also serves as the president of the Marketing Society, frequently calling for "bolder" leaders in the industry.

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