A view from the top
A view from Peter Mead

A view from the top

Although many decades have passed, it doesn't seem so long ago that I was starting at the bottom. There were more jobs at the bottom...

The week starts with a great lunch to look forward to, after driving in from Marlow cursing anybody who rings me in the car and cuts out the audiobook I’m listening to, which is the latest John le Carré. Pascoe, my companion over lunch, has been the head receptionist at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO for well over 20 years. She has wonderful presence and style. Everybody loves her. Mae West once said: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Pascoe’s team make a great first impression.

Back at the office, I have a long discussion with my sister on the mobile to decide about renewing our season tickets at the Millwall Executive Club. Our father could have taken us to Highbury, Stamford Bridge or almost any club apart from Millwall, but he didn’t. He passed on the virus that induces a passion for Millwall – some renowned biologists have suggested this virus is a close relative to the one that produces mad cow disease. Both of us are infected and it’s incurable – the season tickets are renewed.

Mr le Carré and I drive home to Marlow. Later, I watch the last couple of episodes of series five of Mad Men. Just before series one was aired, the Radio Times sent me a disc asking for a critique. After watching for 20 minutes, I rang them and said it wouldn’t catch on and that the first series would certainly be the last. Another example of great judgment! I suspect I’m in common with the boss of Decca Records all those years ago – I might have turned down The Beatles as well!

The following day, Ian Pearman and I join the rest of the Mercedes-Benz team as guests of Marcus Breitsch-werdt on a trip to Stuttgart to visit the great museum and explore the Mercedes story. As it was 32 degrees and humid, Marcus will be my friend for life because he suggested, as I’d already seen the factory, that he and I should leave the others and spend time looking at some of the new models in air-conditioned comfort. It was poetic justice that Ian, who had been baiting me with warnings of the dangers of heatstroke for the elderly, came back from the tour breathing heavily, sporting a slightly pink appearance.

I begin a hectic next day by meeting with some AMV newcomers to talk through the history of the agency. I feel sorry for Katie Stanley, who organises these sessions – she must have been to something like 20 of them, stoically smiling in the same place every time. It’s a challenge to think of something new each time just for her.

I squeeze in a meeting with the secretariat of Omnicom Europe to prepare for the upcoming board meeting. Later, I meet with the poor unfortunate who has decided to turn my 106,000-word stream of consciousness into a book – the greatest challenge of his publishing life. It comes out next April, all being well.

I was just about to carry on impressing everybody with how much I cram into a day when the word count on my computer tells me that I have reached my allotted word limit, and it’s only Wednesday lunchtime!

Peter Mead is the chairman of Omnicom Europe and the vice-chairman of Omnicom

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