Garry Lace, the former £800,000 a year CEO of TBWA, Lowe and Grey (which in the words of one observer, "he ran like it was the 1980s") has kept a lower profile in the last couple of years.
He's been running a company called Admedia and not saying much in public... until yesterday.
Commenting on the story of the departure of Mark Cadman as chief executive of Euro RSCG, he wrote this:
Is it me or have some sections of the advertising world lost their collective minds? As I now understand it, hot on the heels of Lowe telling the world that they don't need a UK CEO, Euro RSCG now do the same. Maybe I missed the chapter on alternative methods of management but I've always worked on the assumption that companies need a leader. That person for whom people will work harder and care more because they are able to construct a vision for the business based on experience and instinct and articulate it in a powerful and motivating way. That person who proves to be a magnet for talent and clients alike and for whom nothing is impossible. Someone in the agency world today should stand up and expose the trend towards leaderless agencies as the nonsense that it is.
It's good to see a big character like Garry back in the public arena, and I have to say, I agree with him.
The idea that an ad agency, or indeed any group of people, can thrive without a leader is patent nonsense.
I've always been fascinated by leadership and charisma. I met Garry Lace very briefly in a bar once; he certainly had it. I've also met or worked under Paul Hammersley, Moray MacLennan, Nick Hurrell... Johnny Hornby. They had it. As does more than one individual here at BBH.
But what is 'it'?
The best definition I've heard of leadership is 'confidence, decisiveness and energy.'
Can you beat that? Is leadership still important? Who do you think has it?
(And remember, we're just talking about account handlers here - people who don't have a brilliant ad or strategy to impress you with, but must do it with nothing but their personality).