Alex White qualified as a chartered accountant with Arthur Andersen and has spent over 30 years within the marketing communications industry at WPP, InterPublic and, more recently, with Cheil in North America.
Alex has experience at CFO and COO level and has been involved in the creative, digital, media, production, research and PR disciplines. While in these roles, he has been exposed to agency-side compensation negotiations, compliance audits, economics, compensation assessment and benchmarking, contracts and agency profitability/productivity. Keen to shape the future of the industry, Alex has been active at the IPA, ISBA, Bank of England and, more recently, BIMA (British Interactive Media Association).
Alex’s background and approach
Here’s a recent interview with me to give you a little more background on who I am and what makes me tick.
What prompted you to start contract compliance auditing marketing agencies?
My expertise of the financial arena within marketing communications was sought after and opened a new direction for me to diversify into a different aspect of finance, which sits well with my previous experience.
How have your previous experiences in business helped you at Financial Progression?
Having been a Chief Financial Officer for most of my career at numerous top advertising agencies, I have a complete understanding of and insight into how agencies work with their clients and suppliers, as well as a thorough understanding of what clients expect from their agencies. This enables me to have a complete and balanced view of the client:agency relationship.
What were your best experiences when working directly with clients?
These happened when all parties were on board to achieve the same objective. Contract negotiation can be painful and protracted and therefore clear, concise communication is imperative. When this happened everybody involved was happy and a good working relationship ensued.
What is the most challenging situation you have come across in a senior finance role?
The world of compliance and Sarbanes Oxley, in which the advertising industry invested many millions of dollars, was tough and relentless. I would go as far as to say it has become one of the most regulated industries in the world.
How would people describe you?
Passionate, knowledgeable, possessing a high level of integrity and reliable, combined with a good sense of fun. I have been told that I’ve always looked at the bigger picture, have a good eye for detail and my knowledge of the communications industry is invaluable.
Which part of your work gives you the greatest sense of achievement?
There are many, however if I was to name one thing, it would have to be enhancing the relationship between client and agency.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to travel. Now our children have grown up, we have a two-year-old, crazy dog, which we are often seen taking for walks along the beach near our home. I have a massive passion for football and, when time allows, can be seen on the terraces of White Hart Lane watching my beloved Spurs.