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A new kind of socialist media mogul

LORD Hollick was the centre of attention yesterday, though such a state of affairs is rarely to his liking. His lordship (title courtesy of Neil Kinnock) has a reputation for avoiding the spotlight.

It used to be easier to lurk in the shadows. Despite being that rare creature, a successful socialist businessman - he joined the Labour Party at 15 - for a long time he was cloaked in the obscurity of his money broking group, MAI.

Grammar-school educated with a degree in sociology, politics and psychology from Nottingham University, Clive Hollick found a fast track to success by joining the merchant bank Hambros.

In 1974, at 29 he was asked by Hambros to sort out the considerable problems of JH Vavasseur, the secondary bank. Vavasseur, which became MAI, in turn asked him to become managing director.

Though it had some media interests - it owned Shepperton Studios for instance - it was money broking that he made the core of the business.

It was not until three years ago, when MAI set up Meridian to bid for an ITV licence, that Lord Hollick began to acquire the soubriquet - and publicity - of a socialist media mogul.

The 48-year-old Lord Hollick - slight, quiet, and unimpeachably moral - is chalk to the cheese that was that other well-known socialist media mogul, the late and unlamented Robert Maxwell.

Yet his footsteps have traced Captain Bob's. After Maxwell's death, he attempted to rescue the Mirror. Disagreements with David Montgomery, chief executive of Mirror Group Newspapers, rapidly led to his resignation, however. Now he seems determined to stick to broadcast, rather than print, media.

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