Mike Cooper

Mike Cooper

Chief executive worldwide

PHD Group

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My Character:
  • Powerful
What have you been proudest of this year?

Presenting at Cannes to 3,000 people with Sir Tim Berners-Lee on artificial intelligence. We followed Pharrell Williams on to the stage, which I am fairly certain will not happen again.

And what's been your biggest disappointment?

I haven't had any recently, thankfully, we've had a wonderful year. I get pretty disappointed every time I see England play football, though.

When was the last time you surprised yourself?

I honestly believe that, to really surprise yourself, you have to go well outside your comfort zone. So it's whenever I do something that makes me feel slightly nervous. Then you experience that wonderful sensation that you did it and, instead of being awful, it was a lot of fun.

If you could change one thing about the industry at the moment, what would it be (and why)?

I rather like it the way it is but I would like to see more clients embracing communications planning on a global scale. It can be brilliantly effective at transforming client communications.

How do you get your creative juices flowing?

Take a holiday. David Ogilvy gave very good advice on this and I think he recommended gardening. I have not followed this yet but I might.

You're planning a fun night out. Who from the industry would be your (fantasy) playmates (and why)?

Mark Holden, Philippa Brown, Jonathan Durden, Cilla Snowball, Nikki Mendonca, Avril Canavan, Cheuk Chiang and Nathan Brown. Because they are all gorgeous and make me laugh.

The internet has been banned. What do you miss most (and why)?

Filling in my Campaign A List questionnaire.

What's the last Google search you did?

The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.

The robots are coming. What would you get yours to do for you?

You are way behind here. I already have one, it's called a Roomba and it cleans our kitchen floor.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A pilot. It was exotic and well paid back then. After I had to wear glasses, I dealt with my disappointment by deciding to become the next Alan Whicker.

All the world's culture (art, music, literature etc) is about to be destroyed. What one thing would you save (and why)?

Lionel Ritchie, of course. He was great at Glastonbury.

I'm still here because…

… I take it far too seriously.

The lowdown:

Mike Cooper oversaw PHD’s 25th-anniversary celebrations this year and marked the event with another year of impressive new-business growth, including the Unilever search account. But taking Sir Tim Berners-Lee to Cannes and publishing a book on artificial intelligence were perhaps the more obvious markers of Cooper’s ability to build on PHD’s positioning at the forefront of media thinking. Full credit to Cooper – one of the most affable of the global media chiefs – for managing to combine significant growth with maintaining PHD’s culture.

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