What a week it was for ... Maurice Saatchi

The triumphant comeback shows what friends are for, Vicky Ward writes

Rarely has a businessman taken such sweet, public revenge upon his detractors. For the past few weeks Maurice Saatchi has been written off by a swelling band of critics, culminating in his sacking from the advertising group he founded. His stunnin g comeback this week confirmed he has not completely lost his touch and, most important, that he retains the loyalty of some old and powerful friends.

The loyalty he inspires led not only to the resignation of seven of his own executives, including Jeremy Sinclair, Bill Muirhead and David Kershaw, but also to the termination of accounts with Saatchi & Saatchi by clients such as Colin Marshall and Lord King (British Airways), David Montgomery (Mirror Group) and Stanley Kalms (Dixons).

This was not all. One of the first to join in helping Maurice start The New Saatchi Agency is the man who ought, by rights, to hate him most: Tim Bell, the Saatchis' former right-hand man, who left the company 10 years ago in the most acrimonious of circumstances.

Cynics might wonder how Maurice wins them over. One might think he issues invitations to sumptuous weekends at Old Hall, his mock-Tudor Sussex mansion, or holidays at his French home on Cap Ferrat. The truth, though, is very different.

"I consider him a friend, and he has never invited me to his house,'' confides Lord Tebbit, who knew him from the days when Maurice, along with Tim Bell, was responsible for running Saatchi's Tory party election campaign. "It's impossible to define how he does it, but he's just one of those people who secures your trust. You know he is never going to let you down. He is amiable, he has a great sense of humour and he is very kind."

But it still seems extraordinary that recent events have brought Bell back to Maurice's side, helping him with publicity for the advertising agency he intends to set up. Bell has not always concealed his bitterness towards the Saatchis: when he left, they made him rebuy his house at a market price. "It certainly is not a question of lavish weekend invitations," says Bell. "In fact, I don't really mix with him socially. Although I left 10 years ago, we have been friends for 25 years. He is the kind of person who maintains those relationships he starts up. He pays attention to people in his conversation and in his body language."

Ivan Fallon, the Saatchi brothers' biographer, concurs:"He is a terribly loyal person, and so thoughtful. When I arrived here [Johannesburg, South Africa] to a new office that had just faced a whole load of redundancies, I found waiting for me on my deska bouquet of flowers, signed `The Brothers'."

Fallon, unlike Bell, has made it to Old Hall for Sunday lunch. "A very fine affair, but you'd be unlikely to find advertising people there. Maurice doesn't really mix with advertising people out of hours, unlike say Bill Muirhead who you could easily find in the pub after work."

More likely to be found round Maurice's private table, are poets, academics (he is friendly with the author Iris Murdoch and her husband Professor John Bayley), the American ambassador and some more artistic faces, such as David Puttnam.

Someone who Maurice used to work for, who asked not to be named, remarked: "It's a combination of his honesty - there's no ruthlessness or deceit about Maurice - and his talent and enthusiasm that make him so thoroughly likeable." David Herro, the young

pretender who prompted his dismissal but is now nursing a large loss on his investments, may in future attach greater value to those qualities.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

    £26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

    Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

    Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

    Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

    Day In a Page

    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
    LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

    High hopes for LSD

    Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
    German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

    Saving Private Brandt

    A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral