I now realise that I was a pretty rigid creative account man. I'd been brought up in the uncompromising creative culture of CDP in the Eighties and GGT in the early Nineties, where creative people were always right and lived like a protected species. The job of the account man was to tell clients what was right for them, whether they liked it or not. It was creativity for creativity's sake.
Robert was a revelation because he was ruthless about creative excellence, but just as obsessive about creative work that was strategically correct. And he was fantastic to work with - enervating and intoxicating. He was an organisational visionary. He gave me the confidence to restructure the agency in ways that, in retrospect, were way ahead of their time: breaking down walls and bringing disciplines together, which became the principles of Mother.
The other side of Robert was that he was immensely compassionate. There was a sweet moment the day after I became MD. He said, "We're going shopping", and frogmarched me out of the office to a Jasper Conran sale and forced me to buy three suits, to transform me from Eighties advertising cliché to pukka modern media man.
He also helped me to become better at handling the press, and we did some fantastic work together. The agency had a real purple patch under our management. He made me the rounded operator I am now. A lot of the self-confidence and self-esteem that I acquired as a result of working with Robert has enabled me to experiment and apply interesting new ideas at Publicis.
Grant Duncan is the CEO of Publicis. Robert Saville is a co-founder and creative director of Mother
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