DIARY: Bull's brand of honest openness unhinges a number of Lowe's staff

The shaven-headed South African Matthew Bull has big plans for the UK advertising industry. He wants change and he wants it now. Trouble is, he's not getting much help from his own agency.

The Lowe chief executive wants to rid advertising of rigid management hierarchies. His watchwords are openness and approachability and to show that he is a man of his word, he famously removed the doors from all his senior managers' offices. The message was clear: no-one at Lowe has anything to hide.

Alas, the experiment seems to have failed. Doors and barriers have been put back up all over Bowater House and it looks like Lowe staff will have to get used to knocking again.

The first to crack was Jeremy Bowles, Lowe's managing director, who had his door put back almost instantly. One by one, Bowles' fellow managers followed his example and now, rumour has it that the only door that remains off its hinges is Bull's.

Maybe Bull's scheme would have had a better chance of success if he'd consulted with people before taking their doors away.

Or perhaps he was just a wee bit naive and underestimated the British's inbred need for secrecy and their hatred of change.

Bull is not the first foreign visionary to fall foul of this. Take the former Manchester United footballer Eric Cantona, for example. He tried to bring passion and honesty to the tired old British game, and look what happened to him - community service.


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