AFR in scathing attack on board member Todd Sampson and his agency’s tobacco links

This cartoon was also carried with the piece in today's column.

This cartoon was also carried with the piece in today’s column.

Fairfax Media board director Todd Sampson has come under attack in the Australian Financial Review today.

Today’s Rear Window column by Joe Aston questions whether the environmental credentials of the CEO of Leo Burnett sit awkwardly with the agency having tobacco company Philip Morris as one of its clients.

Sampson, who has become a TV personality as a regular panelist on the Gruen series as well as getting his own ABC show Redesign My Brain, became a director of Fairfax last May to add a level of marketing savvy to a board criticised in recent years for a lack of innovative thinking.

The AFR is published by Fairfax Media.

In today’s piece Aston writes: “For how long are we supposed to swallow his “I wear a T-shirt because I’m an advertising creative” shtick?

“Hello? The bloke is not an advertising creative. He’s actually an advertising suit who has appropriated the uniform of creatives in his industry (including those that work for him).”

Todd_Sampson_singing_MumbrellaThe article also featured a cartoon of Sampson smoking a cigarette with a tobacco company executive.

In January Sampson was also made a director on the board of struggling airline Qantas – with Aston pointing out in his column in that month the Australian Shareholders Association recommends full time executives only take on one non-executive directorship, and asking if “Leo Burnett is happy with a part-time CEO”.

Aston told Mumbrella this morning: “What I love about Fairfax is it is ‘Independent Always’, and that’s what we practice here.”

Mumbrella has no knowledge of whether Sampson works directly on the account.

Leo Burnett and Sampson declined to comment on the article.

Alex Hayes


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