Magazine article Marketing

Monty's Battles

Magazine article Marketing

Monty's Battles

Article excerpt

David Montgomery, chief executive of the Mirror Group, has horns growing out of the back of his head. At least that's the impression many people might have formed in recent days.

Suitors wanting to buy Mirror Group have named him as the major stumbling block to a deal being done. Trinity didn't want him, and Regional Independent Media made it clear that Montgomery's future role would be a non-executive one. So why so little affection for a man who during his reign has succeeded in turning around the fortunes of the media group after the shambles left by the death and disgrace of Robert Maxwell? What's so bad about this bloke? Well dear reader, I cannot say, because he declined to grant me an interview for this profile. Perhaps he is too busy planning his next stage in the ownership battle.

Perhaps unfairly then, my impression of a man who is variously described as 'dour' and 'humour-less' must be formed without meeting him.

Yet even this isn't as straightforward as it should be. Talking to people who have worked with Montgomery over the years elicits widely differing opinions, many of them off the record.

Nevertheless, there appear to be a few incontrovertible facts about the man.

He was born in Bangor, a middle-class, suburban seaside town in Northern Ireland and weaned on a diet of work, responsibility and religion. His rather austere Protestant upbringing has turned him into something of a workaholic (15 hour days are the norm).

Those who have met him say he's small and lean. He's also reserved and doesn't smile much.

Despite this, Bill Muirhead, managing partner at M&C Saatchi, which handles Mirror Group's creative account, insists Monty has a "very good" sense of humour and enjoys a beer with the best of them.

However, one former colleague who worked in the advertising department when Montgomery edited Today, says: "People were quite frightened of him. There wasn't the banter you usually get with editors."

Christine Walker, managing partner at Walker Media, who worked with Montgomery during her time at Zenith Media handling the Mirror Group's media account, is clearly a fan, although even she hesitates to use the word 'fond' when discussing him.

"I like Monty. He's an interesting man with various hobbies such as playing the piano. He does have a sense of humour, but people don't see it because he focuses on the issue in hand. …

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