WPP CEO Mark Read's message to employees in tribute to Jeremy Bullmore
I am very sad to share the news that our friend and colleague Jeremy Bullmore has passed away, aged 93. Jeremy died peacefully at home this week, with his family around him.
Jeremy was one of the most admired, loved and cherished people in our industry. For nearly seven decades in the business he shared his intelligence, humour and wisdom with unconditional generosity. He had time for everyone, whether you were a CEO or just starting out in your career, and so many of us who sought advice from him over the years will remember that his incisive wit and analysis were always accompanied by thoughtfulness, sensitivity and kindness.
No time spent with Jeremy was ever wasted. If you went to see him in his office, he would – without fail – make you think, make you laugh, and make you challenge whatever assumption you had gone in with. We will miss him terribly. Not only those who knew him personally, but his army of loyal readers who devoured every perfectly chosen word in his consistently brilliant columns, articles, speeches and essays.
Needless to say those words are a hugely important part of his legacy. In November last year, to mark Jeremy’s retirement from WPP, we launched the Best of Bullmore online archive which brings his work together in one place for the first time. We also created “The JB Room” at our headquarters at Sea Containers in London to act as a physical library of his writing, and I am pleased that Jeremy and his family were able to give it their blessing when they came in for a glass of champagne just before Christmas.
Jeremy was a self-deprecating and private person, with an aversion to hyperbole, cliché and taking yourself too seriously, but when Campaign described him as “adland’s greatest philosopher” it was no exaggeration. He was without question one of the most influential figures in modern advertising, and his passing is a loss to the entire industry.
Jeremy started his career at J. Walter Thompson London, which he joined in 1954 as a copywriter and left in 1987 as chairman, before serving on the board of WPP and then in other roles with the company for another 30-plus years. During that time he not only helped to launch countless brands and careers, he also elevated the business of advertising as a whole with his depth of insight, forensic analysis and always-original commentary on what we do. We all owe him a great deal.
Our deepest condolences go to Jeremy’s family, who have said that anyone who wishes to honour his memory can make a donation to Shelter, a charity for the homeless, which you can do here.