Anthony Hilton: Quiet man Napier has worked magic at Aegis
Saturday 14 July 2012
It is astonishing to think that Thursday's agreed £3.2bn offer for Aegis from the Japanese firm Dentsu is the second largest takeover bid in advertising history – the more so because not so long ago the business was in grave danger of being torn apart by warring shareholders.
Getting the company into a shape where it could attract an offer of this size is no mean achievement, the more so because the man responsible, John Napier, the chairman, has done a similar job turning dogs into desirable businesses, not once, not twice but four times in the last 15 years: at cash and carry firm Booker which was sold to Iceland, at water company Kelda which was taken over by a private equity, at RSA which is still independent but an industry standard setter and this week at Aegis.
Britain does have executives who are quiet, effective, world class and whose egos do not demand £2m a year just to get out of bed in the morning.
John Napier is one of those.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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