Industry shock as Andy Carolan dies

The direct marketing industry is in shock following the death of former Tangible boss Andy Carolan – one of the giants of the Scottish DM industry – who died on Friday after being struck and killed by a train.
Carolan started his career as a product manager at Alloa Brewery in 1982 before joining Evans Hunt Scott in 1987, where he became managing director of the London agency.
He went back to Scotland in 1993 to launch Navigator Responsive Advertising, the direct marketing arm of Faulds, where he was MD.
Carolan eventually led an MBO out of Faulds, and Navigator became one of Cello Group’s first acquisitions. He took on the chairmanship of the expanded and rebranded Tangible group in 2007. Last September, Carolan left to launch a business development consultancy.
A spokesman for British Transport Police said: “Around 1.15pm on Friday, 16 November 2012 a man was struck and killed by a train at Longniddry station, East Lothian.
“Enquiries are ongoing to establish his identity and the circumstances surrounding his death. At this stage there would appear to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and a full report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”
VCCP me planning partner Chris Whitson, who started his career at Faulds Group in 1995 and worked for Carolan at Navigator, said: “I owe him pretty much everything.”
Tangible Financial creative director Jonathan Spooner commented: “Andy has been an inspiration to hundreds of grateful individuals in the marketing industry over a long and distinguished career. Anyone who worked with him at EHS, Navigator or Tangible will remember his enthusiasm for the business, his inimitable sense of humour and his ruthless
pragmatism. Quite simply, he was one of the nicest blokes I have ever worked with. I shall miss him very badly.”
Meanwhile, Lucian Camp, former chairman of Tangible Financial, added: “After we sold our agency to Cello in 2007, Andy drew the short straw and took on management responsibility for what was then a very independent minded and uncorporate agency. He looked after us with huge skill, good humour, personal insight and business acumen, and in short did everything possible to confirm his reputation as one of the giants of the Scottish marketing communications industry. I’m absolutely devastated and appalled to think that he’s no longer with us, and offer my deepest sympathies to his family.”
And ex-Tangible Data managing director Janet Sneddon said: “It is very tragic. Andy was an inspirational figure in the Cello group, always open to new ideas. And very supportive in finding solutions. His coaching style very much boosted your confidence – indeed, he’s been one of the few agency chiefs I have worked for who took sincere pleasure in seeing his team progress. His contribution to the industry is extensive and he will be very much missed.”
Steve Gapper got to know Carolan 20 years ago when he set up his agency in Edinburgh, when Gapper was head of DM at Scottish Widows. He said: “Andy was a delight to be with, always upbeat and supportive of any DMA events we organised. Desperately sad to hear the news.”
Chris Gordon had known Carolan since he was a graduate salesman at Alloa, but got to know him better when he launched Navigator as a direct rival to WWAV Scotland – which Gordon was heading up. He said: “Andy was a brilliant competitor, a man of integrity; tough but straight as they come. I enjoyed many beers over the years with him and respected him so much. So sad for his close friends and his family.”
And launch editor of Precision Marketing Robert Mayes – who subsequently became group marketing director at WWAV (now Rapp), added: “”Andy was one of those guys we all would like to be. Not just successful and immensely respected for his ability and professionalism but universally liked, a really top bloke. I got to know him well when he was running EHS and I was editing Precision Marketing and he quickly became someone I looked to both for insightful views and advice but also to share a beer or dinner with – he was immensely good company. He won’t be forgotten.”
Mike Cavers, one of the industry’s most respected creative directors, who is now ECD at Lateral Group, said: “Andy was such passionate member of our amazing industry, who was liked by everyone he met and will always be remembered for for his wit and intelligence as well as for the help and advice he gave to many the people who came into the business and worked with him. His passing in such tragic circumstances is without out doubt a loss to the industry – he will be sorely missed.”
Former Bank of Scotland marketing chief Sean Larrangton-White first met Carolan in the mid-Nineties, when he hired Navigator. He said: “The words ‘a tragic waste of life’ are often heard in circumstances like this – in this case they are poignantly true.
“I knew Andy primarily when he grew Navigator Responsive Advertising into what possibly originated as an idea on a napkin, into a major national DM agency with a solid reputation for effectiveness.
“He called it ‘Responsive’, because he had very firm ideas about making results the raison d’etre of everything the agency did, and he brought together a forward looking and talented team, that scored high on effective innovation in DM creative and techniques.
“Andy was a very personable man – charming, energetic, solicitous, highly perceptive. Also disquietingly astute in negotiations when we worked together (I was at Bank of Scotland at the time). His effectiveness as a team builder – and drawing out the best in people – was evident at Tangible, where he was chairman. His passing away is a loss for us all who knew him.”
Carolan is survived by his wife, Sherrie, and two young sons Mark and Connor.
UPDATE: Andy Carolan’s former colleagues at Navigator are to create a book of memories for his family. Four versions of the book will be correlated by Yvonne Balfour, Karen Trickett and Melanie Morris and then by Tony Bibby. Those who wish to share their memory of Andy are asked to email or to forward the email to those who may wish to contribute.

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1 Comment on "Industry shock as Andy Carolan dies"

  1. Charlie says: “A true gent, great company, highly respected and a very personable man – and one of the good guys of the industry. Andy’s life touched so many and the world will be a poorer place without him. He will be sorely missed.”

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