Former colleagues, friends and associates have paid tribute to Rick Pullan, the founder of TBDA and a 17-year veteran of the DMA Agencies Council, who has passed away aged 65.
Having graduated from the University of Sheffield in the early Seventies, Rick started his career working on the Alberto V05 brand, before it was acquired by Unilever. He went through the ranks in sales and marketing to become UK marketing director, then managing director of the Far East region.
On his return, Rick co-founded The Promotional Partnership, which was eventually bought by KLP. In the early Nineties, he held data roles at Stansfield Lake and Buell Consulting Group and, in 1994, set up TBDA, which over the years has worked for Ben & Jerry’s, Europcar, First Capital, InterContinental Hotels Group, P&O Ferries, Stagecoach, Marks & Spencer and Nestlé.
Rick sat on the DMA Agencies Council from 1998 until 2015 and, in January 2016, also set up community marketing specialist consultancy Connect2 with Jeremy Taylor and Chris Arnold, which he ran in addition to his role at TBDA.
Chris Arnold, who has known Rick for over 20 years, said: “Rick’s drive, enthusiasm and passion set him above many others. He challenged us all to do better, always with a smile. On the DMA Agencies Council he was inspiring and drove a number of key projects, one to help us sell better creative to clients – impressive for a data man.
“He loved the marketing industry and had a passion for data. When he first fell ill we believed that if anyone could beat cancer by pure strength of will, Rick could. But sadly he lost the fight. RIP RP.”
Omaid Hiwaizi also worked with Rick on the DMA Agencies Council where, along with the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s John Hemming, contributed to the 2009 “Return on Ideas” report, authored by Professor Robert Shaw.
Hiwaizi said: “Rick was a dynamo, the energy of a Millennial in a Gen X body. It was great working with him on the Council. He was a trusted friend too and I found his mix of stoicism and humour inspiring.”
Meanwhile, media and business consultant Lucy Stafford explained that it was “a privilege” to work alongside Rick on the Council. She added: “He was a truly talented man and a delight to work with, who always had the biggest, most infectious smile on his face. He will be sorely missed and is a big loss to the industry. RIP.”
Former Proximity London chief Elly Woolston – one of the co-founders of its predecessor Barraclough Hall Woolston Gray – said: “Rick made an enormous contribution to the industry. I shall remember him fondly as someone who was always thoughtful and wise. I think his business philosophy sums up the calibre of Rick and his depth – ‘doing good is good business’. I send my sincere condolences to his family.”
Jacob Bailey Group chief executive Shaun Bailey commented: “I had the pleasure of working with Rick while chairing the DMA’s Agency Council for over five years. A long-standing member and contributor, and much loved by us all on the Council. In almost 30 years, I have encountered very few people with so much passion and dedication for our profession, demonstrated by Rick’s long association with the DMA. A champion of the value of marketing through the Return on Ideas and a real advocate of bringing through the next generation of talented marketers. Rick really was an inspirational industry figure, and I am grateful to have known him. He will be sorely missed.”
Finally, DMA managing director Rachel Aldighieri said: “Our thoughts go out to family and friends of Rick at this sad time. Through Rick’s involvement with the DMA Agencies Council, we had the opportunity to experience first-hand the energy and passion that he brought to every endeavour he applied himself too. His contribution to our industry over the years has been significant, so it is a great loss for all of us who knew and worked with him.”
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