Manning Gottlieb OMD held a surprise celebration last week to honour Managing Director Robert Ffitch’s 20 year Anniversary at the agency with a whole day dedicated just to him. Robert was the agency’s first employee and has been at the agency from day one when it launched on Noel Street with 5 people and 3 clients.
PA’s Sandra Denda & Zoe Phipp constructed a carefully planned day of events that involved all 200 members of staff and many clients, and amazingly managed to keep the secret from Robert until the morning of the day, when Robert’s suspicions were raised when it became apparent that the entire agency had turned up wearing a cardigan in honour of his favourite garment, and he realized that all the afternoon “meetings” in his diary were fake!
Instead, a lunch with 20 of Robert’s oldest serving colleagues (some of who had travelled from abroad to be there) segued into a meeting back at Seymour Mews for the whole company to pay tribute to Robert, who performed surprisingly well when put on the spot in a media Mastermind quiz.
Colin Gottlieb and Steve Williams paid heartfelt tribute, the former describing Robert as someone he would trust with his life, while Nick Manning reluctantly donned full Chelsea kit to demonstrate the lengths he would go to for his friend.
A visibly moved Robert listened and watched as clients and colleagues old and new paid tribute to his spirit and energy, Catherine Salway of Virgin Management paying tribute to his creative genius, and his PA’s past and present mockingly reflected on his “lugubrious” nature… Another highlight was a video message from Andy Gray and Richard Keys from Sky, the out-takes of which had the agency doubled-up with laughter.
There aren’t many people in the industry who have been at an agency for 20 years from day one and seen it grow from nothing to billings of £400 million, and the lengths the agency went to were a fitting tribute. Tellingly the agency has chosen to celebrate its own anniversary as a 21st birthday – it will be interesting to see what they do next year
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