A woman as IPA president?

The IPA is preparing to choose its next president amid speculation that it could abandon its tradition of selecting a male candidate from a creative agency for the first time in its 87-year history.

Pressure has been mounting on the trade body to appoint a woman to succeed Stephen Woodford, the WCRS chief executive, when his presidency ends in April.

But Hamish Pringle, the IPA director-general, this week refused to rule out the prospect of the job being handed to the senior executive of a media independent or a direct marketing agency.

The IPA council will meet in December to choose a candidate for approval at next year's annual meeting. A list of nominees will be presented by Bruce Haines, the previous president of the body, who is in charge of the process.

A break with established practice would acknowledge the IPA's broadening membership base. "I don't know whether we will elect a woman president but I hope it will happen soon," Pringle said. "I would also like someone from a media independent or the DM sector because that would send a powerful signal to the marketplace."

But he warned: "We don't want tokenism. The council must choose the person it thinks can best do the job."

- 24 hours with ... Hamish Pringle, p18; Comment, p52.

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