MEDIA: HEADLINER - Spring set to add sparkle and energy to outdoor business/Stevie Spring is moving up as More Group’s new boss. Anna Griffiths talks to her

Memories of Stevie Spring looking rather fearsome in a bright red suit at a WACL dinner thankfully evaporated over breakfast in the fashionable depths of Notting Hill. The gold jewellery was there, but dressed in understated shades of grey and black, Spring adeptly worked her charm on Campaign.

Memories of Stevie Spring looking rather fearsome in a bright red

suit at a WACL dinner thankfully evaporated over breakfast in the

fashionable depths of Notting Hill. The gold jewellery was there, but

dressed in understated shades of grey and black, Spring adeptly worked

her charm on Campaign.



Becoming chief executive of the poster company, More Group, is a far cry

from Spring’s earliest ambition to be a PE teacher. And though she may

still run and swim long distances (she never does anything by halves)

it’s evident that her talents would have been wasted on a room full of

gymslips.



Spring bursts on to the poster scene from the agency world, where she

has resided for the past 16 years. Since 1994 she has been the managing

director of Young & Rubicam, until its merger in August with the

creative hotshop, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe, where she became

managing partner with responsibility for new business. Spring is adamant

that this merger, and her shift towards new business, did not

precipitate her departure.



’If the merger hadn’t happened, I couldn’t have turned this job down,’

she says.



More Group is not Spring’s first foray into media. She first learned

about media the hard way at TV-am as it fought to survive, before

entering the creative world in 1984 as business development director at

Grey Advertising.



Bubbling with enthusiasm for the poster medium, and her new

responsibilities for overseeing a company employing 750 people, Spring

outlines the skill-set she will bring to the More Group: ’If you look at

what I’ve done over the past 17 years, it’s been customer service and

business development, both of which are transferable. I will bring

creative management with a buyer’s focus to More Group.’



There’s no doubt that outdoor could do with a bit more glamour and

vigour, as Christine Walker, the founding partner of Walker Media,

points out.



’More Group has been perfectly fine but it’s lacked sparkle and oomph.

Stevie’s wonderfully creative and has more personality than most people

will ever have. She’ll be brilliant with clients and agencies and will

be a terrific motivator.’



Toby Hoare, the chief executive of Bates UK and former chief executive

of Y&R, said he originally recruited Spring to Y&R in 1994 to inject

’energy, dynamism and noise’. Hoare adds: ’What you see is what you get.

She’s uncomplicated but she’s very clever. Some people may see her as a

bouncy new-business girl, but she is much more than that.’



At 42 years old, Spring is setting a precedent in the outdoor industry

by being its first female chief executive, as well as adding to the tiny

group of women steering the helm of a media owner. But old lags in the

outdoor industry should be warned that they are not dealing with the

softer sex in Spring’s case. Kelvin MacKenzie, chief executive of the

Wireless Group, says: ’She’s a tough businesswoman but she’s got a good

way with her - there’s a laugh never far away.’



Although she doesn’t join More Group until next month, Spring already

has plans. ’Posters are still perceived as difficult to buy and to

manage. A degree of evangelism, because I’m nothing if not an

enthusiast, will make a big difference. There are a lot of clients who

don’t use the medium at all, or use it in a very prescribed way. The

opportunity for stealing share from other media is huge.’



An early training in law has helped Spring to tackle challenges in a

methodical fashion. She argues: ’Advocacy for people is the same as

advocacy for products or services. It also trains you to have the memory

of the elephant.’ Without drawing breath she adds: ’But sadly I have the

bottom to match.’



No doubt Spring has spotted the career opportunities within More Group’s

parent company, Clear Channel, which only last week was voted the number

one media company in the world by Forbes. Whether she lives out the rest

of her career within Clear Channel remains to be seen, but Spring

declares: ’You need to stop doing things when the enthusiasm goes.’



And there seems to be no sign of any let-up on that front, as Campaign

watches Spring bounce off to her next meeting.



THE SPRING FILE

1978

Alpine Group, marketing executive rising to group marketing manager

1982

TV-am, business development manager

1984

Grey Direct, business development director

1985

Grey Group, group operations director

1986

Grey Advertising, business development director

1988

GGT, head of new business becoming deputy managing director

1992

Woollams Moira Gaskin O’Malley, managing director

1994

Young & Rubicam, managing director

1999

Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, managing partner

2000

More Group, chief executive



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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).