The great and good of advertising hailed the staying power, vision and integrity of GroupM chief John Steedman, inducted into the MFA Hall of Fame last night.
"No bullshit" was a common theme. WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell praised the "difficult, successful larrikin's" work ethic and longevity. GroupM global chief Dominic Proctor grinned that he didn't actually like him "so you can give him the award if you like but I'm buggered if I'm going to come down for it". Harold Mitchell reckoned Steedman was "the greatest competitor Stuart and I ever had".
"We didn't think we could beat you but we pretended to be your friend just to fool you."
Starcom boss John Sintras compared Steedman to a fine wine, that packed a punch and improved with age.
A media veteran of 40 years, Steedman came out of retirement in 2010 to lead GroupM in Australia. Hugely respected within the industry, he has helped mentor many of Australia's current crop of media agency bosses while overseeing the country's biggest agency group.
Steedman said any success he had achieved was because his staff made him look good. He expressed relief that John Sintras had been inducted before him.
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