Steve Goodman, one of the UK’s top advertising buyers in press during print newspapers’ final glory days from the 1980s to the start of the 2000s, has agreed to leave WPP’s Group M after more than three decades.
Goodman, who was managing director of print trading, first joined The Media Business in 1982 and stayed with the organisation as it became part of MediaCom and then WPP.
"I have found the last 35 years working across the Group M advertising and agency arena thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable," he said.
"Now, given the numerous and rapid changes within the industry, and publishing sector in particular, I feel now is an opportune time to focus my efforts on helping develop the sector directly.
"There is a huge number of untapped opportunities and potential for growth."
Goodman, who regularly appeared in Campaign’s annual list of top 10 media buyers and negotiators, told industry contacts at the end of October 2018 that he had left Group M.
However, it is thought that the two sides did not initially agree terms and there was a lengthy stalemate.
Group M’s decision to announce on its website this week that Goodman has "formally stepped down" signals that they have resolved his departure.
Tom George, UK chief executive of Group M, said: "Steve has long been a major advocate of the publishing sector in all its guises, both within Group M and its agencies, but also acting as chairperson for the IPA board of press directors and representing the agency views on the board of the ABC.
"He has been a valued friend and mentor to everyone at Group M and across all of our agencies – and his extensive expertise will be missed."
WPP created Group M in 2003 as a holding company for all of its media agencies to leverage their collective trading scale and MediaCom, where Goodman worked, was acquired a year later.
He became Group M’s first director of press in the UK in 2006, overseeing about £550m of annual client spending, which amounted to more than a quarter of the display press marketplace at the time.
The internet would go on to disrupt the media market as advertisers shifted money into Google and Facebook, and print adspend has tumbled since the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
Goodman "plans to remain active in the industry, pursuing his interests and new challenges in print and technology", according to the announcement by Group M.