A view from the top
A view from Toby Hoare

A view from the top

November always strikes me as an odd month. The clocks have gone back and everyone starts to look forward. Budget meetings, strategy presentations, account reviews, interviews for new hires. 2014 is on everyone's lips, but there's still so much we must wring out of this year.

My week starts with my daily walk from W11 to 1 Knightsbridge Green. When I arrive, my first meeting is an energising chat with our UK marketing director. She’s about to come back after having her second baby – we’ve missed her and I want to make sure we make her life as interesting and manageable as possible when she returns.

After that, I walk to Embankment to meet with the British American Tobacco chief marketing officer. I love walking in London, so make the time whenever I can. BAT is Geometry Global’s largest client and we are working on some innovative ideas.

Tuesday afternoon is spent reflecting and projecting – a three-hour video conference with the JWT global executive committee to prepare for our 2014 strategy meeting with Sir Martin Sorrell and WPP.

Next, a meeting with a WPP fellow who has just finished her rotation in London, Singapore and New York. I did a talk at the University of Bristol five years ago about the joys of advertising and she was in the audience asking razor-sharp questions. She has not changed. I leave the office feeling buoyed by her enthusiasm, before crashing down to earth watching the rejuvenated Arsenal lose to Chelsea.

Wednesday brings an early flight to Milan, where I spend six hours talking one on one with each member of our Italian leadership team. They are a top-drawer line-up.

The next morning, I have a crack-of-dawn breakfast with Massimo Costa, the Italy WPP country manager, before getting back to London. It’s always great to see Massimo. We go way back to our Y&R days in the 90s.  

On the way back from Heathrow, I put in a call to Andrew Scott, WPP’s director of corporate development, to discuss an exciting acquisition. I follow that with a call to Roy Haddad, who runs WPP Middle East and North Africa. We’ve got a new-business opportunity in the pipeline.

On to a meeting with WPP’s global recruitment director, Francis Illingworth. We talk about key talent issues and opportunities. These days, I spend as much time talking and thinking about talent as I do about brands, and that’s the way I think it should be. JWT has always been good at making its people feel valued.

After lunch (the Comm’s finest pea soup), an update from Joe Petyan, the JWT London executive partner, about some of our new work for HSBC. I’m very proud that our HSBC team has such great momentum. The work Joe takes me through is warm, witty, thought-provoking.

The week concludes with two interviews – one for a potential financial director for Geometry Global and one for a new planner on Kimberly-Clark, who gives me a fascinating perspective on how people are feeling in Publicis Omnicom Group agencies.

And, finally, a rare treat. I scoop up all three of my children and we drive to Suffolk. Although they’re not children any more – two work in London and one is on her gap year – it’s still the perfect end to a week of darker days, long conversations and big plans.

Toby Hoare is the chief executive of JWT Europe and the chairman of Geometry Global