MEDIA HEADLINER: The people's choice who will use his agency nous at Emap - Dave King believes he can finish the cross-media job at Emap. Ian Darby reports

Things got a bit frantic for Dave King last week. On Wednesday he

had to dash back from a family holiday in Spain to accept the job of

managing director of Emap Advertising.



Not that he seemed to mind. In between chatting to pesky journalists and

taking congratulatory calls from old mates, it probably hit King that he

had landed one of the biggest and most challenging jobs in media

sales.



He takes charge of close to 300 people across magazine, radio, digital

and television sales at a time when Emap Advertising is starting to win

around its initial detractors.



King could be forgiven for a smile of satisfaction on the flight back to

Spain in the early hours of Thursday morning. The leading internal

candidate, he is said to have fought off strong rivals such as Simon

Barnes, formerly of Associated Newspapers.



The appointment of King, who joined Emap On Air as its sales director

two years ago, seems to be popular. King says that he was gratified when

the rank and file cheered at the announcement. Malcolm Cox, a director

of Emap Performance, says: "Dave is very popular within Emap Advertising

and with customers. Everybody seems delighted that he got the position,

he's done a fantastic job here and is a great bloke."



King's career in media goes back 18 years. He left school after

A-levels, turning down the chance to go to university in favour of a job

on a building site. "I had a great time and the humour was fantastic. I

really loved the work ethic -the way in which people played hard and

worked hard was not dissimilar to the media industry."



However, the allure of the building site wore off and King took a

business course that included elements of media and advertising. Sales

jobs followed, at Ulster TV and then Granada, before a procession of

agency jobs led to the role of broadcast director at Carat.



King arrived at Emap On Air as early plans for Emap Advertising were

being developed. Initially he worked on the radio sales side before

adding television and digital to his portfolio.



King may be lucky in inheriting the top job after his predecessor, Tom

Toumazis, led it through difficult early days - when its aims of

creating cross-media deals looked unrealistic and the four sales

cultures had difficulty in gelling.



"Tom and I are very different people," King says. "He did good things

and was a creator. I'm the finisher who can complete things. We've got a

lot to do - I can see so much more I can offer on the delivery side of

things. I learned the 'customer is king' mentality from the agency side.

If you don't have this approach then you lose them. That's what I'm

trying to instill here."



King seems to be a popular choice on the agency side. Helen Keable, the

head of radio at Manning Gottlieb Media, says: "There have been

noticeable improvements in Emap's client service levels over the past

year. A lot of cross-media deals were slow to take off but they are

taking a more realistic view of things. Dave King is well perceived

internally and is seen as a personable and not a remote person."



Mark Craze, the chief executive at Carat and King's former boss, says:

"Dave's an incredibly good team person, he's a great motivator and

inspires loyalty. He's the sort of guy everybody would like, but not in

a weak and insipid way. He's energetic, passionate and always up and

positive."



Doubters of King's ability are in the minority, but suggest that it will

be interesting to see how tough he is as his role shifts from bringing

in sales revenue to turning a profit. Observers are curious to see if

his broadcast background will benefit Emap's magazine sales

operation.



The job has come at the right time for King, who Cox says has tamed his

appreciation of the "wilder nature of the business" since the birth of

his daughter, Poppy, 18 months ago. King, a southerner, is a Manchester

United fan and loves betting on the horses and dogs. He is tempted by a

move into horse ownership but, for the time being, is happy to spend

summer Sundays playing cricket, followed by a beer at his uncle's pub in

Buckinghamshire.