For more than two decades, John Raad has been the IPA’s backroom
bureaucrat and the author of countless industry position papers to
Whitehall mandarins containing such memorable bon mots as ’Ministers may
wish to reconsider the desirability of ...’
So it came as a bit of a shock to learn last week that the deputy
director-general isn’t the old sobersides people think he is. According
to one story doing the rounds at Raad’s combined retirement party and
60th birthday last week, Raad enjoys dressing up in cowboy gear and
singing unsuitable songs like Wild Thing.
Sadly, we could only trace photographic rather than aural evidence of
this schizophrenic behaviour.
A tad more believable is the story that Nick Phillips, the IPA’s
director-general, told of Raad and the office badminton tournament.
The idea of it wasn’t to get everybody in shape, he confessed. There was
already shapeliness enough among the preponderance of females
The true purpose was to raise the morale among the sad old gits who
relished the thought of all those lissome Joan Hunter-Dunne types
flashing their thighs and knicker elastic.
Raad not only missed the whole point of the thing by not only trying to
win but actually succeeding.
When it comes to sangfroid, however, Raad is without equal. With the
Belgrave Square offices destroyed by fire in 1984 it fell to Raad to
break the news to David Wheeler, the then director-general, who was in
Any problems? Wheeler asked. Nothing serious, Raad replied before calmly
adding that an accident had just turned Wheeler’s car into a mangled
wreck and - oh yes - the IPA had burned down.