Feature

Account Person of the Year 2020: Karen Martin

It is credit to her hard work that BBH retained its 17-year-old Barclays account and founding client Audi.

Account Person of the Year 2020: Karen Martin

Managing director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Bartle Bogle Hegarty faced a challenging start to 2019 when three of its biggest clients – Virgin Media, Audi and Barclays – all announced they were putting their ad accounts up for review. It is credit to the hard work of Martin that BBH retained its 17-year-old Barclays account, in a pitch she led. Later in the year, BBH also retained Audi. In between, Martin led the team that won one of the industry’s biggest pitches of the year, Ladbrokes Coral.

Martin managed all this while continuing to successfully lead the agency’s Tesco account (its largest piece of business); her handling of the brand’s biggest turnaround in its history was so successful that it led to the supermarket handing BBH its Tesco Mobile business this year.

Away from a challenging day job, Martin supports the people around her at all levels, continually championing the growth and professional development of colleagues. This year she introduced a series of training courses, activities and events to support mental health. She also acted as an inspirational mentor to clients, colleagues and advertising’s next generation and is involved in Nabs’ speed-mentoring programme to encourage more young people to join the industry.

One judge said: "Karen is obviously a powerful strategic leader in a high-profile organisation. There is strong evidence of her personal contribution in leading and growing a key retail business like Tesco but also multiple examples of retaining major clients in a highly competitive pitch arena. Great sustained driven leadership. Also good to see that Karen is championing critical agendas like mental health and has a focus on female mentoring." 

Martin’s unflappable manner and inspirational  leadership meant BBH ended 2019 significantly stronger than when it entered it, despite a raft of challenges. If Martin can survive this, just imagine what she can achieve in a quiet year? 

Runner-up

Michael Pring

Deputy chairman and chief marketing officer, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO 

Pring’s talent was identified by Campaign many years ago when he was selected as one of its Faces to Watch. And watch it we have over his 25-year career to his current position at Abbott Mead Vickers.

The scale, breadth and responsibility he undertakes is remarkable. He has ultimate responsibility for BBDO’s Guinness and Pepsi businesses globally, which is impressive enough, but in 2019 he was tested further and did not falter. He led the charge on a Pepsi global campaign running in 43 markets, as well as the ambitious Guinness Rugby campaigns that brought a gold Cannes Lion, two D&AD Pencils and a gold at the Campaign Big Awards. Pring has also overseen the agency’s new-business machine adding five clients, including Macmillan Cancer Support.