Coomber exits BACC top job

The body that polices TV advertising in Britain is revamping its management line-up following the resignation of its boss and lingering disquiet among agencies about its effectiveness.

Ron Coomber is stepping down as the chief of the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre after only a year and with no job to go to. "I don't think compliance and regulation are for me," the former Carlton Television executive said this week. "I'm planning a long holiday."

As a result, the long-serving BACC manager Paul Denham takes on the new title of managing editor, making him the BACC's "outward face". Meanwhile, Judy Goate, an IT specialist with Thanet Council, becomes the head of customer operations with a brief to ensure the BACC's in-house systems run smoothly.

At the same time, Andy Barnes, the head of Channel 4 sales, is to replace Peter Shea as the chairman of the BACC copy committee.

The changes follow a major internal review carried out by Helen Stephens, a senior manager at ITV, which funds the watchdog body.

The IPA, whose member agencies take responsibility for getting commercials cleared on behalf of clients, has been pressing for changes.

The trade body argues that in improving its systems to make the pre-vetting of ads more efficient, the BACC has become less effective at its core business of giving advice.

Coomber, 54, arrived at a time of upheaval at the BACC in the wake of the merger between Granada and Carlton. "Coomber was brought in largely because of his IT experience, as the BACC's systems needed bringing up to date," an agency source said. "He's a nice guy who has done his best but is out of his depth when it comes to copy clearance."

Some observers believe Coomber's departure also reflects an uncomfortable relationship between the BACC and the Advertising Standards Authority since the ASA's remit was extended last year to cover broadcast advertising.

"In the long run, the ASA will want to control the BACC," one said.