The Annual 2004: The 10 Best rumours

1. Frank Lowe

After his unceremonious ejection from the agency that bears his name, the rumour mill got preoccupied over whether Frank Lowe was going to make a comeback. Gossips were convinced Sir Frank was plotting to set up "Lowe-in-exile" and lure away Lowe's management, Matthew Bull, Paul Weinberger and Mark Cadman, to join him, along with the Tesco business. By the end of the year, however, all were still happily ensconced at the agency, while Lowe has been remarkably quiet.

2. Mother

It was inevitable that Mother's run of success should result in some back-biting from onlookers. This year, the rumour mill became convinced two key pieces of the agency's business were going to walk. Both Orange and Boots were constantly said to be unhappy and about to review their accounts. But both are still helping to pay Mother's bills.

3. Richard Warren and Tom Knox

The Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners co-founders were both said to be in line for new management jobs at J. Walter Thompson. In fact, wouldn't you just know it, the rumour mongerers got it somewhat arse about face. Two other members of the DLKW management team - Charlie Snow and Alex Kuropatawa - were in talks with JWT, but the devil they knew won the day.

4. The phantom e-mailer

Someone, somewhere, sent an e-mail that helped bring Garry Lace's career as chief executive at Grey to a close (see below also). The e-mail claimed Lace was plotting to quit the agency to launch his own company. The source of the e-mail was tracked down to an internet cafe and surveillance of CCTV footage didn't help stem the flood of rumour and debate about the sender's identity.

5. Greg Dyke

Dyke may be gone from the BBC, but he's certainly far from forgotten. Dyke has always had commercial blood and, even during his time as the director-general, he demonstrated a keen flair for competition. No surprises, then, that when the Hutton inquiry prompted his departure, he was immediately tipped for a top ITV job.

6. Simon Bolton

Once the rumour took hold that the JWT chief executive was moving on to a new role, barely a week went by without there being another theory as to his next move. Bolton, though, remains firmly in place, running a rapidly improving agency. Whether his role in the global Samsung triumph will see him moving to run that business, however, will probably fuel a few more rumours early next year.

7. The Independent

As soon as The Independent began reaping the benefits of its move to a compact format, every other broadsheet was rumoured to be about to follow suit. The Times went first, then The Guardian announced it would launch in the Berliner format, but The Daily Telegraph continues to keep the gossips busy.

8. Sainsbury's

Rarely a week goes by when the papers aren't full of Sainsbury's financial woes. So, as these things usually do, this prompted speculation about Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's tenure on the account.

9. Rupert Murdoch

In a similar vein, when things aren't going too well the gossips generally have a feeding frenzy and the Financial Times' struggles sparked plenty of rumours that Rupert Murdoch would ride to the rescue waving his wallet. When Murdoch's involved, though, you can bet offering help is not his prime motivation. Murdoch, the gossips said, wanted to use the FT to take on Bloomberg and possibly give himself the option of selling The Times.

10. Mark Craze

When Mark Craze quit as the chief executive of Aegis UK, there was no shortage of rumours about where he might pop up next. Top of the list was the new KR Media start-up, launched by Bruno Kemoun and Eryck Rebbouh, due to open its doors for business in the UK in January. But Craze is also rumoured to be flirting with Naked about adding business muscle to its strategic thinking.


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