Niall FitzGerald, the chairman and chief executive of Unilever, the
UK’s biggest advertiser, is to be the next president of the Advertising
FitzGerald takes over from Sir George Bull, the chairman of J Sainsbury,
who has held the presidency since 1996. FitzGerald’s presidency begins
on 22 May.
He said: ’I am honoured that Sir George approached me at such an
exciting and challenging time for the advertising business and for the
Advertising Association, which plays a central role in its
My own company is a committed believer in the value of brands and the
way in which advertising investment builds business.’
Andrew Brown, the director-general of the Advertising Association, said
that one of the most significant issues FitzGerald would confront was
the challenge posed by new technology. Convergence would, he said, raise
questions over how the industry should be regulated in the future.
Other issues Brown flagged were the completion of a single market across
Europe and the UK implementation of the European legislation that
governs the industry.
Brown said: ’There are a lot of regulatory matters facing the industry
at the moment. FitzGerald brings experience across a lot of markets. I
am delighted that the Advertising Association is in the privileged
position to be guided through these times by a person of FitzGerald’s
FitzGerald’s acceptance of the presidency is regarded as a coup.
Unilever spent about pounds 250 million on advertising last year and is
involved in new areas such as interactive advertising and web marketing.