Media: Headliner - Motive stalwart’s defection to IPC gets the industry talking - Philippa Stuart can’t quite believe all this fuss about her job, Robert Dwek says

’I can’t believe it!’ says Carolyn McCall, advertising director of the Guardian, when she hears her good friend Philippa Stuart is leaving Motive. McCall, like others, notes that Stuart seemed to have her future mapped out there.

’I can’t believe it!’ says Carolyn McCall, advertising director of

the Guardian, when she hears her good friend Philippa Stuart is leaving

Motive. McCall, like others, notes that Stuart seemed to have her future

mapped out there.

Stuart has only just been promoted to the Motive board (January of this

year) after working nine years there, and before its creation out of

Bartle Bogle Hegarty, in the agency’s media department.

McCall congratulates Stuart on becoming marketing director, advertising,

a new post created by the publishing giant, IPC (Campaign, last


’She deserves to get in at a senior level,’ she says. ’Philippa’s very

serious about her work and very wholehearted about what she takes


This was a shrewd move by IPC.’

Perhaps it was a coincidence, but Stuart recently went on an IPC jolly

to Finland. Paul Longhurst, the executive media director at Ammirati

Puris Lintas and an old BBH colleague, went too. ’I wonder if that’s

where the deal was done?’ he muses. Longhurst has nothing but praise for


’She’s a great person, her commitment is massive,’ he says. ’She’ll work

all the hours God sends to achieve what she believes in.’

Longhurst speculates that all might not be as rosy as it should be in

the Motive garden if Stuart is able to leave. ’Philippa is Motive

through and through; you wouldn’t think she’d leave the family.’

The only hint of criticism comes from John Teal, head of agencies and

clients at the Daily Mail. ’She pushes negotiations to the limit to get

the rates she wants, which seems like hard work if you’re not used to

her. Sometimes she can be too tenacious.’

Stuart puts her change of career direction down to turning 30 (she’s now

almost 31). She has noted all the raised eyebrows but does not quite see

what all the fuss is about. ’I wanted some new challenges and most of

them seem to be happening on the media owner side of things. Media

buying nowadays seems to be dominated by agency mergers rather than

innovations in technique.’

IPC is, arguably, a company which has in the past concentrated too much

on the big is beautiful concept. It now wants Stuart to imbue it with a

much stronger sense of brand identity. This, she says, should create

’added value’ for media buyers.

Stuart stresses that she has not been wooed purely by the prospects of a

more strategic senior role and big bucks. She is, she says, a people

person - a much-abused descriptor in recent times but one that certainly

seems to ring true for her. Her manner is warm, charming and, to all

appearances, genuine. Whether or not behind-the-scenes headhunting went

on in Finland, Stuart says she was as much impressed by the warmth of

her future colleagues at IPC - as she was by the position and salary

package offered.

It seems hard to imagine it now, but Stuart was all set for a career in

accountancy. She took O- and A- level accountancy and then studied the

subject at college. When she left her home town of Wolverhampton and

came to London, she joined Peat Marwick McLintock. But within a few

short months she was going round the bend. ’The people were dire. As

auditors we were perceived by our clients as being like a bunch of

little Hitlers and my colleagues seemed to relish living up to this


The quick change of career occurred because an old girlfriend from

school suggested she talk to her brother, Andy Tilley, now the managing

director of Zenith Media, but at the time working for BMP DDB. Stuart

eagerly took the advice. Tilley, who has remained good friends with

Stuart, says of her latest career change: ’It’s a great move. Philippa’s

well known for her knowledge and expertise in print. She’ll add a lot to

the changes that IPC has already made over the last five years.’

A fellow Wolverhamptonian, Tilley describes Stuart as the fourth best

thing to come out of the city ’after Slade, Ronald Milhench (famous for

forging Harold Wilson’s signature) and me’. As for her false start in

accountancy, Tilley comments: ’Philippa is to accountancy what King

Herod was to babysitting.’

The question is whether Stuart can repeat her undoubted success at

Motive, where she helped the agency build more than pounds 100 million

of billings with wins such as Whitbread and NatWest.

Her role at IPC will have a long-term perspective and may take some time

to yield tangible results. She doesn’t know if she’ll ever return to the

media buying side of things (her muted reaction to this question

suggests not) but she still hopes to be working in media in ten years’

time. She will feel fulfilled professionally if she can look back and

pinpoint a few things she has done really well. ’I want to create real

change, rather than change for the sake of change.’


1987: DMB&B, trainee planner buyer

1989: Bartle Bogle Hegarty, media planner

1994: BBH, head of press and media manager for the centralised Whitbread


1997: Appointed to the board of Motive, January

1997: IPC, marketing director, advertising, March.


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