If anyone merits public recognition, it is surely Anthony Simonds-Gooding. A charismatic figure, he has straddled advertising and design for much of his career, as a client, at BSkyB and other companies, as chief executive of D&AD and more recently as chairman both of that organisation and the Design Business Association.
Simonds-Gooding excels at playing background roles, inspiring people like former D&AD chief executive David Kester, who he brought in to run the organisation, having rebuilt and refocused it it after the legendary reign of Edward Booth-Clibborn ended in tears in the early 1990s, and DBA chief executive Deborah Dawton.
Both claim to have learned much from him and praise his solid support for their plans.
Last year was a tough one for D&AD, with chief executive Michael Hockney stepping down unexpectedly in May on the eve of the organisation’s annual Congress. Characteristically, Simonds-Gooding filled the gap himself, empowering the executive team to continue with their business as before.
There is still no replacement for Hockney, though the search has now started in earnest, and several key staff members have inevitably also left, but D&AD remains intact.
Under the temporary stewardship of finance director Dara Lynch and with digital design star Simon Waterfall of Poke elected as president, we can expect life to continue for the time being, anyway. At least with Simonds-Gooding at the helm, it is in safe hands.