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
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
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
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