Senior figures in the agency world have paid tribute to former Arc Worldwide and EHS Brann chief Mike Spicer, who has passed away, aged 51, following a battle with motor neurone disease.
Spicer started his career at IMP in 1989 as an account executive, when John Farrell was managing director. He was one of the “4 Amigos”, together with John Quarrey, Ian Priest and Ian Millner, who all went on to create other great agencies that have changed the landscape for marketing services agencies.
Spicer went on to become managing director of IMP’s successor Arc in 1993, but left after a restructure of the business.
He then joined Media Square’s marketing division as chairman, before switching to Havas Helia (then EHS Brann). Following that, Spicer spent five years at Pulse Group but joined integrated and shopper marketing agency B Street last year as managing director.
Over the years, Spicer also played a key role in developing the Marketing Agencies Association, and was chairman of the MAA between 2009 and 2011.
Clive Mishon, one of the founding fathers of promotional marketing in the UK, said: “A great light in the world of promotional marketing (or should I say sales promotion) has gone out. Mike was indeed a great light as he lit up a room, a client presentation and was the leading light in all the teams that he ran. At every position he ever held his leadership was characterised by building great teams, as he was only happy when being a team player.
“This was born on the rugby fields of Whitgift and then as a player for many years for the Old Whitgiftians. Once he stopped playing rugby he became one of the great sporting spectators, always at Stamford Bridge in the winter and Lords or the Oval in the summer.
“These terraces, as will our industry, will be a much less lively and enjoyable place to be without Mike. Everyone will miss him. RIP.”
David Harris, who worked with Spicer at IMP, added: “It wasn’t so long ago when we thought we were immortal. We worked every hour under the sun. We did all nighters. We drank more than the gods of Jutland. We celebrated every win like a World Cup victory. We felt every loss like the end of the world.
“Now we are feeling the loss of one of us. A great team leader. Sharp, funny, confident and clever, Mike was someone who always had time for everyone. The last time I saw him in the summer he was speaking about his kids, bursting with pride at their successes.
“I hope they’re equally proud of their dad. It was privilege to work alongside him and we’ll miss him.”
John Quarrey also praised Spicer’s leadership qualities, as well as his client handling and people skills. He said: “Mike was also simply the best person to go for a beer with or argue about football with.”
Meanwhile, Ian Priest added: “People loved working for Mike and he always brought out the very best in people. His passion for clients’ business, his easy charm and good humour as well as strong creative and strategic skills made him a very effective suit.”
Spicer leaves behind his wife Tracey and three boys: Jack, Joe and Harry.
A memorial service will be held at 1.30pm on November 18 at Croydon Crematorium in Mitcham Road, Croydon, and then at Old Whitgiftians Rugby Club at Croham Manor Road in South Croydon.
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