A giant of Australian media and advertising as well as founder of philanthropic organisation The Harold Mitchell Foundation, Harold Mitchell died on February 10, aged 81.
Mitchell left school and went to Melbourne becoming a media buyer and creating his own company Mitchell Communication Group in 1976. In 2010 the group, which had become Australia’s largest independent media agency, merged with UK media network Aegis in a $363 million deal with Mitchell becoming Executive Chairman, Aegis Media Pacific. He retired in 2013.
The Harold Mitchell Foundation was created in 2000 and investing in initiatives and making a positive and sustainable difference in education, health and the arts in Australia and the Asia Pacific. For this he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), then Australia’s highest civilian honour, in 2010.
Mitchell was also a champion of sport, particularly tennis and soccer, a chair or board member of a variety of health, sporting, education and arts organisations and a promoter of free to air television, Australia to overseas audiences and radio, once comparing our industry to a cockroach – a survivor.
I have included the link to Mitchell’s speech from the 2003 Andrew Olle Media Lecture which is just as resonant today.