MEDIA: HEADLINER; CIA’s nearly man opts for the European fast track at Lintas

Graeme Hutton has at last got the big-hitting role he deserves.

Graeme Hutton has at last got the big-hitting role he deserves.

Last week Graeme Hutton was a nice bloke, good at his job and in the

slow lane to media oblivion. This week Graeme Hutton is not so nice. And

was he ever really that good at his job?

At least he’s been saved from oblivion. For Hutton, CIA Medianetwork’s

former European development director, has been snatched by Ammirati

Puris Lintas to be the agency’s European media director.

Suddenly Hutton has been transformed from an inoffensive, prosaic

backroomer to a high-flying, cross-border Mr Important, with the sort of

rumoured salary (pounds 150k?) guaranteed to bring out the critics

(salaries less than pounds 150k).

Hutton is quite pleased about this make-over of Cinderella proportions.

He’s not a great one for spontaneous displays of excitement, but he’s

looking forward to the Lintas ball. He is to take control of Ammirati

Puris Lintas’s European strategic media operations, ensuring a coherent

media structure across markets and developing best practices from

individual countries to provide the optimum pan-European service

(Campaign, last week). The brief comes with ‘big job’ written all over

it and Hutton has been identified as the man for the task.

With a beefy package, a fuck-off job title and the opportunity to

overtake on the inside straight into the fast lane, it’s easy to see why

Hutton wanted the job. But why did the job want Hutton?

Graeme Hutton - we’re not talking mega media brand, here. Not a razzle-

dazzler, limelight stealer, and certainly no glittery rising star. True,

he did win a major trophy at this year’s IPA Media Effectiveness Awards,

but it was for a paper called, appropriately, ‘Media’s mid-life crisis

and why research must reinvent itself’.

No, Hutton’s more the steady hand on the tiller, the solid-support man,

the thorough thinker, the guy that actually enjoys research, and, if

truth be told, who probably provides the firm foundation of any really

good media operation. In addition to the IPA recognition, Hutton has

also had industry endorsement through his chairmanship of the Audit

Bureau of Circulations, where he has increased turnover by 80 per cent.

What APL can also rely on Hutton for - solid media expertise aside - is

his dependability. This is the guy who stayed at Ogilvy and Mather for

the best part of ten years and has been at CIA for the past 13. In fact,

Hutton’s departure sees the end of the old dynasty which engineered the

CIA/Billett and Co merger.

Hutton is clearly a loyal dog, but has never quite made it to top dog at

CIA. Indeed, when Nick Kelvin joined the company as planning director

last year, Hutton found his own little kingdom overrun and was ousted

into the comparative wasteland of European development. While in the new

CIA hierarchy this was clearly a form of putting out to pasture, Hutton

found that he enjoyed the broader European canvas.

Hutton says that people who don’t know him probably think he’s boring

and researchy, but hopes those who do see him as honest and passionate,

always looking for new challenges. He likes to think of himself as

‘warm, open, friendly and relaxed’. Some agree that his non-threatening

manner, monotonous Malvern drawl and passion for the likes of skiing,

horseback riding and astrology do inspire a cosy state of somnolence and

a tickling affection for the man.

Hutton, round-faced, round-shouldered but not quite the Quasimodo the

Campaign photograph suggests, has certainly never quite discovered the

art of being a media lad. He seems generations away from his

contemporaries who match balding pates with a passion for Oasis.

This can work wonders with women, though. ‘In this media sea of middle-

aged male juvenilia, Graeme can be quite refreshing,’ one female fan

gushes. Mind you, he did reportedly begin dying his grey hairs last

year. He has, friends add, developed the sort of vanity only middle-age

men can master, and a predilection for younger women.

And with his new job, Hutton may prove himself a late peaker. After

years of being in other people’s shadow, he is now being given a real

chance to grab the mike. ‘I can’t imagine media without Graeme Hutton,’

was one client’s response to the news that he was moving on. But the

challenge for Hutton now is to ensure people think of media with Graeme


The Hutton file

1974 Ogilvy and Mather, press buyer

1979 Ogilvy and Mather, media group head

1983 Billett and Co, media director

1989 CIA Billett, planning director

1994 Audit Bureau of Circulations, chairman

1995 CIA Medianetwork, European development director

1996 Ammirati Puris Lintas, European media director


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