CLOSE-UP: NEWSMAKERS - IAIN JACOB AND PETER EDWARDS. All change on the Starcom Group merry-go-round

Jacob and Edwards have a chance to step out into the limelight, Jeremy Lee says.

Following the completion of the Publicis takeover of Starcom Motive and the creation of a coherent Starcom Group, its EMEA chief executive, Mark Cranmer, has changed the management line-up of his two UK agencies.

Jim Marshall and Chris Locke, the respective chief executive and managing director of MediaVest, have both taken on elder statesmen roles within the Starcom Group that reflect their experience and expertise.

This has meant MediaVest, now christened Starcom MediaVest, has a new chief; the Starcom Motive managing director, Iain Jacob, replaces Marshall, while Starcom Motive's business director, Peter Edwards, fills Jacob's boots. Both are from the Motive old school, immersed in both the disciplines of media planning and buying.

Jacob is a man already in the spotlight but has arguably not got the profile of some of his peers. Edwards, on the other hand, is a mystery to pretty much anyone who hasn't worked with him.

Although Jacob is no wallflower, observers say he has not got the profile he deserves because he has been forced to live in the shadow of his boss, Cranmer. Perhaps unfairly it is Cranmer that has been given, although not necessarily sought, the credit for the growth of the UK agency, which was Campaign's Media Agency of the Year in 2001.

To some extent, this is inevitable - Cranmer is a larger-than-life character, gruff, outspoken but a true visionary partly responsible for making media a discipline rather than a function.

Jacob, on the other hand, is a more approachable but no less talented man, and although their styles may differ, he clearly has a close relationship with his boss.

Jacob, 41, has been by Cranmer's side for more than a decade. He was a founder director of Bartle Bogle Hegarty Media in 1987, of Motive in 1995, set up Motive's international division and became the managing director of the merged Starcom Motive in 2000.

He's a likeable and amusing figure who engenders respect from his colleagues and it would be a mistake to judge Jacob by his Penfold-like appearance and modesty.

He learnt his craft the Motive way - an uncompromising negotiator, people who have worked with him say he is not to be underestimated. Jacob confesses that in his day he used to be a bit "feisty". But time and his subsequent career development have mellowed him and he has gained a reputation for having an excellent brain.

Jacob talks passionately, if a little rapidly, about media and avoids the temptation of slipping into bullshit. As the chairman of the Media Circle, he spent four years trying to pass on his wisdom to the new generation of media employees.

Outside of work he enjoys rugby and music, where his tastes range from soul to rap to punk.

While Jacob is a known quantity, Edwards is not. His profile is so low that, like a Stealth bomber, he has not caused a flicker on most radars, unless you happen to be an avid fan of the home makeover show Room Rivals on UK TV.

Edwards, 37, featured as a contestant on the Handy Andy-fronted show last year and apparently things did not go well, particularly when a water feature was installed in his bedroom.

His non-existent work profile does not seem to bother him. "I've never sought a profile," he shrugs. But he realises he may have to start developing one in order to promote the business he now manages.

Edwards also learnt his craft the BBH way. He joined BBH Media in 1991 as a trainee TV buyer and subsequently rose up the ranks of the agency and reached board level in 1998. He is popular with his staff, although some have interpreted his dry wit as evidence of him being a bit of a smart arse.

This is unfair - his groundbreaking work on Stella Artois is one of the truly great media case studies of the past decade. It won a Media Lion at the 2000 Cannes International Advertising Festival.

By associating the premium lager Stella Artois with quality films through a comprehensive broadcast sponsorship and event-related deal, Edwards positioned Stella as an arbiter of taste.

"It's true to say that Stella Artois is a brand that defines itself by the placement of its advertising as much as by the advertising itself," Matt Edwards, the board account director on the Stella account at Lowe, says. "Pete has been responsible for constantly pushing for media innovation."

David Charlesworth, the head of sponsorship at Channel 4, agrees. He dealt with Edwards for Stella's film broadcast sponsorship and testifies that Edwards, despite his strategic ability, has not lost any of his buying skills: "He's got the combination of vision for the brand and the ability to make sure the negotiation is buttoned down."

With Starcom Motive in rude health, Edwards will be judged to have done a good job if he can keep the agency at its current standard.

Jacob, on the other hand, has the more difficult task. It is up to him to make Starcom MediaVest the success it deserves to be. Now that Cranmer is at a discrete distance, the consequences of its performance lie solely at his feet.

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