Industry veteran and Google EMEA agency sales managing director Mark Howe will enter “semi-retirement” at the end of this year.
Howe, who has had an illustrious career in TV and at Google over the past 41 years, said he wanted to retire to spend more time with his family.
In an email shared with the media, Howe said the decision to “hang up my boots” had been “hard and emotional”.
He said: “[It] has not been a quick decision. In fact, as a number of you know, it's been on the plan for a while now, pretty much since my wife was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Then (the) Covid lockdown was never a time to leave without being able to say goodbye in person but rest assured my wife is now in strong remission, so we can look positively to the future.
“Having had what I think is a long enough career in both television and Google, both of which I have loved, I hope I leave a positive legacy & some fond memories. I have made many lifelong friends and I'd like to think I've made a positive contribution to the businesses & the Industry I have represented.”
Howe leaves a legacy in TV and building Google’s ad sales proposition in EMEA.
His ad sales career began in the 1980s at the ITV franchises Yorkshire, Tyne Tees and Thames TV – a period he described as “hazy”.
In the 1990s, Howe moved into the multichannel TV industry at Flextech and the sales house IDS, before in 2006 he passed at least eight interviews to land the top UK sales role at Google UK.
At Google, Howe has held several senior roles, including country sales director and the agency sales leader across EMEA. He spent more than a decade launching and growing Google UK’s agency sales business, which has been mirrored across various markets.
In 2010, Howe (pictured below at a reception) predicted some of the challenges the industry would face that have come to pass, such as challenged agency business models and the disruption caused by digital media across the broader ecosystem.
In 2016, Howe handed over the reins of Google's UK agency sales to Peter Cory and Matt Bush, as he took on the EMEA agency sales lead role that he holds today. A year later Bush took sole charge of the operation.
“I've learnt a lot about myself and the full spectrum of a multichannel ad business, helped develop many careers, mostly positively I hope, and above all that, had a huge amount of fun, which what remains of my liver can vouch for,” he said.
“There are too many people I could thank for their friendship and support over the years, so I won’t try to name them, but hopefully you know who you are. Just so you know, I have no intention of taking on another full-time role, although I’m sure I will find it hard not to have a little involvement in the ad industry that has given me so much.”