Veteran media buyer, advertising executive and philanthropist Harold Mitchell, who founded one of Australia’s most successful advertising businesses, has died at the age of 81.
Mitchell was awarded Australia’s highest civilian honour, a Companion of the Order of Australia, in 2010 for his leadership and philanthropic endeavours across the arts, health and education, adding to his support of East Timor, and Indigenous communities.
A 2013 finalist in the Australian of the Year awards, he founded his own Melbourne-based media buying agency, Mitchell & Partners, in 1976, which went on to become Australia’s largest agency. In 2010, he sold Mitchell Communications Group Ltd. to British media company Aegis for $363 million.
Following the sale of his company, Mitchell was chairman of Aegis Media in Asia Pacific, before the British company was purchased by Japanese advertising giant Dentsu in 2013.
Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes called Mitchell a visionary and leader in the media industry across several decades.
“He will also be remembered as a great philanthropist and supporter of the arts and sports. Harold was a doyen of the industry and a great friend over the 40 years we had known each other,” Stokes said.
“He had a wonderful sense of humour and was a groundbreaker in the way media was monetised. I enjoyed his company, and he will be missed by us all.”
Seven managing director and CEO James Warburton added Mitchell was a fierce, tough competitor, and a true legend of Australian media and advertising.
“He was passionate about selling the impact and value of advertising. He was a great friend to the TV industry and many of us learnt a lot from him. Our deepest sympathies go to Harold’s family at this very sad time.”
Barry O’Brien, chairman of Atomic 212, one of Australia’s largest independent media agencies said it is an incredibly sad day with the loss of Mitchell.
“Harold was a powerhouse of the media industry and the platform for many people to start their own agencies. I had the privilege of working with him for several years and I saw, first hand, his philosophy that everyone at the table had to win: the client, the media and his business. As such, he was a true wealth creator,” said O’Brien.
“Harold was also known for the amazing support he gave to many charities and institutions, all of which benefited from his wide range of connections.”
Mitchell was fined by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in 2020 after being found to have been in breach of his duties as a director at Tennis Australia, providing details to Seven West Media which helped it win a rights deal in 2013.
Source: Thanks smh.com