The Fishbowl: Roland Agambar, Harmsworth Media

The Fishbowl: Roland Agambar, Harmsworth Media
The Fishbowl

The Media Leader’s interview series asks the media industry’s top salespeople 10 revealing questions, drawn from our fishbowl. The questions will be drawn at random and contain some tricky posers set by the commercial chiefs themselves.

This week, it’s Roland Agambar, CEO at Harmsworth Media.

Roland Agambar has held several sales, marketing and leadership roles at News International, Northern & Shell, and DMG Media.

Most recently before becoming CEO of Harmsworth Media last year, he was managing director at the sister Mail Metro Media title Daily Mail.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Like any little boy, it had to be a football star. I’m showing my age here: I named my pet goldfish Kerry after my footie hero, Kerry Dixon of 1980’s Chelsea fame.

Why are you passionate about media?

Throughout my career I’ve been fortunate to work on some huge media brands that make you feel like you’re in step with the nation’s conservation — at its best you are part of the vernacular and at the heartbeat of society. This year — with upcoming elections, Olympics, and Euros — is going to be an epic one!

What are clients talking about this year that they weren’t last year?

Mail Metro Media is increasingly focussed on making sure the relevance, timing, and values of its advertising partnerships with clients are clear and in front of bull’s-eye customers.

In an election year, brands are looking to target relevant audiences. Our commercial team’s portfolio includes the i newspaper, Britain’s best performing quality title — and the only one that’s never backed a political party, which is a unique offering in market.

If you didn’t work in your current sector, which other media sector could you see yourself working in?

I’m lucky that I’ve always been fascinated by the commercial value of great content, particularly the interface of content and sponsorship. If anyone follows Steve Martin from M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment, you’ll know why I have to choose sports marketing. Plus, Kerry the goldfish would approve!

Which actor would play you in the film of your life and why?

Ideally, Jon Hamm in Mad Men. But more likely it would be David Jason in Only Fools and Horses.

If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?

The Circle Line, after 10 years trying to get to News UK in Wapping and another 15 years waiting on the platform at High Street Kensington (HQ of DMGT).

How many days do you go into the office and why?

All day, every day! I’m a big fan of office working, I believe stand-out ideas and brilliant teams come from in-person collaboration. Plus, I’m rubbish at Zoom.

**Peer question** Tell us about a recent challenge you’ve faced in your current role, how you approached this and what was the outcome.

I became CEO of Harmsworth Media last year and my first task was to recruit a new editor for New Scientist. Having barely scraped a C at Physics O-Level, I had mild imposter syndrome!

However, I was very lucky to have several brilliant internal candidates to choose from, and our new editor, Cat de Lange, is already smashing it.

Lesson: build brilliant teams, people are your most valuable asset.

**Question from Lyndal Beeton, head of brand and agency partnerships at PinkNews.

**Peer question** What is your favourite industry event, and which is your favourite city to host an industry event?

Mail Metro Media’s annual Upfront & Centre, obviously! We regularly welcome 400 advertisers to hear exclusive updates on the future of our data, innovation and content, across our growing portfolio of platforms.

Plus, its packed with ground-breaking announcements, star-studded entertainment and the opportunity to catch up with our industry’s finest. I do also jump at any chance to travel around the country to meet clients across the UK.

**Question from Kylie McKie, enterprise sales director, LiveRamp UK.

**Peer question** When did you fail the hardest and what did you learn from it?

I feel like I’m constantly failing, learning, improving and then delivering. In my view, if you don’t feel this way then you’re not pushing hard or fast enough.

**Question from Wayne Davison, chief revenue officer at Little Dot Studios. 

Read more Fishbowl interviews here and see what media’s top salespeople say about working in the industry and what concerns their clients. To suggest an interviewee, contact ella.sagar@uk.adwanted.com.

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