Harold Mitchell started in advertising in 1960 as office boy at the Melbourne agency Briggs & James. He moved to USP and then Masius, where he became media manager.
In 1976 he went out on his own and launched the independent media buying company, Mitchell & Partners. From a standing start with $2000, he grew the company into Mitchell Communication Group, ultimately selling to Aegis for $363 million in 2010.
As executive director and second-largest shareholder in the multinational Aegis Group plc, he sits atop more than 16,000 staff in 80 countries. He now controls $1.7 billion worth of business in Australia and New Zealand where he has been unchallenged as Australia's most powerful and influential media buyer for the last eight years.
He is immensely proud of how hard he works and what he has achieved. He is a fast talker and willing to give his opinion on anything. Inevitably, though, there is a sense of every word being calculated to reinforce his image of power and influence. He claims that's not his intention, it's just in other people's minds.
He is also proud of taking the lead in the digital world by the creation and public float of emitch in 2000, followed by the absorption of the private company in 2007, and the deal he put to Aegis. This year he turns 70 but there are no thoughts of retirement. The excitement continues with the challenge of expansion and consolidation of Aegis in Australia and Southeast Asia.
Harold Mitchell is chairman of CARE Australia, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Thoroughvision, Crown Ltd, the Melbourne Rebels, TVS and Art Exhibitions; vice president of Tennis Australia and a director of the Deakin Foundation and Melbourne Recital Centre. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2004 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2010.