Feature

Account Person of the Year 2018: Julian Douglas

Douglas' juggling of VCCP's successful new-business machine and his extracurricular business activities impressed the judges.

Account Person of the Year 2018: Julian Douglas

Vice-chairman Julian Douglas manages to do the seemingly impossible: he juggles spearheading VCCP Partnership’s amazingly effective new-business operation with leading major clients, a suite of industry initiatives and a gaggle of extracurricular businesses.

VCCP has led AAR’s annual new-business survey for seven years in a row, picking up major new clients, such as Transport for London and Cadbury, while retaining core partners such as Comparethemarket.com and O2. In 2018, Douglas led VCCP’s successful pitch for the global Shell business, winning work from Shell’s long-time partner J Walter Thompson (now Wunderman Thompson) and ahead of networks with a more established international presence.

Douglas will no doubt run the Shell account with as much enthusiasm as he shows for Nationwide and Domino’s. Indeed, one of the judges described Douglas as "one of the industry’s real forces of nature", praising VCCP’s work.

The judges were particularly taken with the work Douglas does outside the agency. In addition to his position as an elected member of the IPA Council, he has pushed for change on diversity, originating the Advertising Unlocked campaign to introduce students from underrepresented groups to the industry. 

In March 2018, Douglas took on extra responsibility for identifying and releasing new revenue streams. He also promoted Sian Richards to become VCCP’s first head of diversity and inclusion, empowering her to build on her work on the creative community She Presents and effect real change at the agency.

Not content with his achievements inside VCCP and the ad industry more broadly, Douglas also finds time for several side-hustles. Alongside Dame Martha Lane-Fox, he co-founded the Lucky Voice karaoke chain in 2005, which now has eight branches. Douglas also co-founded Parent Pool, a social enterprise and app bringing parents together to provide childcare to, and receive help from, people they know.

Douglas brought his outside interests into the agency by installing a Lucky Voice karaoke booth in the basement of VCCP’s headquarters in Victoria. It should come in handy when he finally gets a chance to take a breather and celebrate being named Campaign’s Account Person of the Year.

Runner-up

Sarah Douglas

As chief client officer since 2012, Sarah Douglas was responsible for improving Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's relationship with its clients, delivering the highest satisfaction scores in the agency’s history. Overlooked for the managing director job in 2016 following the departure of Richard Arscott, Douglas has cemented her position as "number one" since the exit of Ian Pearman, mentoring younger women and supporting new mothers returning to work. In addition to leading AMV’s multi-award-winning account for Bodyform-owner Essity, Douglas spearheaded the Omnicom agency’s successful efforts on the Virgin Holidays and Virgin Atlantic pitch. If there were any doubt about Douglas’ importance to AMV, her promotion to chief executive after Dame Cilla Snowball’s exit should have put paid to that.

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