CAMPAIGN INTERNATIONAL: DECISION MAKER - JOHN QUARREY. IMP’s father figure takes on Euro responsibilities. A baby, a new marketing network and a merger: John Quarrey’s got his work cut out. By Robert Dwek

It’s all go for John Quarrey, chief executive of the D’Arcy subsidiary, IMP London.

It’s all go for John Quarrey, chief executive of the D’Arcy

subsidiary, IMP London.

Not only have his responsibilities just been extended to running the

newly formed D’Arcy Marketing Services Group - designed to make a

disparate bunch of marketing communications companies around Europe feel

much more part of the D’Arcy family - but he also has to deal with the

ramifications of the just-announced merger between the D’Arcy parent,

the MacManus Group, and the advertising giant, Leo Group, owner of Leo

Burnett and half of Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

But these concerns were mere trifles when Campaign visited Quarrey last

week. He’d just become a father, leaving him tired but starry-eyed and

discovering, at 35, a new perspective on life. This is a man, remember,

who has spent almost his entire career at IMP, where he started in 1987

as an account executive, and once listed his passions as IMP, Arsenal,

Twickenham and ’going out’. He was also a regular recipient of the ’most

fanciable bloke’ award at IMP.

Quarrey’s new serenity is, dare one say it, slightly exasperating, but

he does make some interesting points about the D’Arcy/IMP double-act and

his new hands-on role driving European growth.

He claims the move to bring the mainly below-the-line operations dotted

around the Continent into a closer orbit around the London headquarters

was a natural progression from the early-90s decision to bring IMP and

D’Arcy - then DMB&B - under the same roof.

’IMP used to have a very poor relationship with DMB&B: it was always

slightly adversarial. There was concern about who was going to take

responsibility for decision making, where budgets were going, and so on.

When we came into the same building we’d already started trying to put

that right, and being able to walk up a flight of stairs to chat with

the old enemy, or to go to the same bars, made a huge difference.’

Barry Cook, the managing director of D’Arcy UK and Quarrey’s ’other

half’ at the office, sees Quarrey as fairly radical in his views and his

approach to below the line. ’He’s creative in the broadest sense, not

ploughing any particular furrow.’

A former IMP colleague, Chris Satter-thwaite, now at HHCL & Partners,

also admires Quarrey’s unconventional side. ’John is not afraid to

challenge existing ways of thinking. It’s what makes him so valuable to

clients and colleagues alike.’

Quarrey claims his masterplan for the new D’Arcy Marketing Services

Group is ’very simple: to establish the multi-disciplined idea

throughout Europe and build an agency network around that, recognising

that different markets are at different stages of development.’ This

means that an agency in, say, Poland won’t be the same as one in London

or Spain. ’We want to take a very flexible view of our interests in

Europe, and not try to stamp the IMP London identity on them from day

one,’ Quarrey says.

He’s less interested in micro-management than in building the same kind

of team spirit throughout the network as now exists between IMP London

and D’Arcy UK.

Quarrey says: ’I want to build a coherent network so that clients can

walk into a D’Arcy subsidiary in Barcelona, Paris or wherever and feel

they’re in the same agency but with local differences. Every agency will

have the same level of service, the same focus on creativity, etc. The

biggest barriers I’ve found talking to clients are the massive

inconsistencies that exist within any network - which is inevitable the

bigger you get.

’I’d rather have fewer offices, but ones that are really, really good,

than to go around sticking pins in a map and saying, ’we must have an

office there’.’

The focus is on France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK for both the

IMP and Interactive divisions. Declaring his goal by the end of 2000,

Quarrey states: ’We have to be in a strong position in both categories.

That doesn’t sound like an enormous challenge, but it will be a big

commitment getting them up and running.’


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