THE BOOK OF LISTS: Blunt Bull lives up to Lindsay legacy

Lowe's long-held position as the best supplier of on-the-record put-downs has been thrown into jeopardy after Tim Lindsay, the network's worldwide president, announced his resignation.

Lindsay, 47, was the master of the insult-dressed-up-as-a-compliment. His way with words reflected his sartorial style: effortlessly elegant.

Barbed wit tripped off his tongue to the delight of his peers and Campaign hacks, who understood that an interview with Lindsay would guarantee a piece that would get talked about.

One of his finest moments came this summer. He had heard that Lowe's head of account management, Jonathan Rigby, had had the audacity to resign. But his long experience on the top tier of agency management had trained him not to slam doors or hurl objects through the window when he was annoyed.

Instead, he knew how best to channel his anger and get sweet revenge at the same time: he picked up the phone to Campaign. "It's always flattering when an agency draws from the ranks of our middle managers for its managing director," he purred down the line to a journalist.

Lindsay's resignation last month, however, sparked fears that the tradition might die at Lowe. But he took his responsibility more seriously than that. Like all master craftsmen he made sure his apprentice was prepared to take over when he retired.

Step forward Matthew Bull, whose imposing physical presence, shaved head, earring, loud South African accent and penchant for tight tops meant it didn't take long for him to make his mark on the UK ad industry.

Although the end result is the same, he has a different style from Lindsay.

Motivated by a tendency to blurt out exactly what he believes, ignoring the advice of tense PRs, Bull too is no stranger to the offensive quote.

Adopting a style hitherto unseen in the UK, he first set about claiming that cruel quotes from Lowe were a thing of the past. "It's about time we stopped making disparaging public comments about our people," Bull declared, smiling inwardly at his own generosity.

Minutes later, however, he was off. "I don't think Joanna is right to lead the planning department and neither does she." It may lack some of the finesse of one of Lindsay's best, but still does the job.

- Best quotes of 2003, p41.

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