Se­nior vice- pres­i­dent and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, IMG Aus­tralia & New Zealand Ap­pointed Au­gust 2012

The Australian - The Deal - - Firstup - As told to Lyn­dall Crisp

was born in Tun­bridge Wells, Kent, in Eng­land, the youngest of three sons. My fa­ther, Hi­lary Jolly, was an ob­ste­tri­cian and gy­nae­col­o­gist who went over there to get a num­ber of de­grees. In 1963, when I was three months old, we re­turned to Aus­tralia by ship. He was the ship’s doc­tor and he be­came the head of St Vin­cent’s Hos­pi­tal in Melbourne.

My mother, Mar­garet, was a nurse. One brother is a doc­tor and a sis­ter is a nurse, but I’m more artis­tic. I paint with acrylics.

I went to school at St Kevin’s Col­lege in Toorak and in 1980 to Monash Univer­sity to study arts/ law. But I wasn’t sure it was the path I wanted to take (and I got di­a­betes), so I with­drew in the sec­ond year.

I had this thing about get­ting into tele­vi­sion. I got my first job as the mail boy at The Age news­pa­per. For six months I walked around the Spencer Street build­ing de­liv­er­ing the news­pa­pers to all the dif­fer­ent di­vi­sions and I got to un­der­stand how it all ticked. It formed in my mind what I wanted to do. My first job on a sales teamwas at Chan­nel Seven, where I worked for five years. Then Damien Sten­mark, who’d left Seven to start the Sten­mark Or­gan­i­sa­tion [an in­de­pen­dent me­dia rep­re­sen­ta­tion and mar­ket­ing agency], asked me to es­tab­lish his Melbourne of­fice in 1988.

In1990, I joined IMG and started their sales di­vi­sion. I also mar­ried Mar­tine, a nurse. I de­cided to go back to univer­sity part time and did my grad­u­ate diploma in sports man­age­ment andbusi­ness. I also did a cer­tifi­cate of busi­ness at RMIT. Then, in 1994, Frank Wil­liams, whowas run­ning IMG’s Melbourne of­fice, left towork with Greg Nor­man in the US and I was ap­pointed the gen­eral man­ager in­Mel­bourne. Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor James Ersk­ine left in 1997 to start his com­pany SEL and of­fered me a job, but IMG founder and chair­man Mark McCor­mack asked me to run IMG Aus­tralia. I was 34. It was a very com­pet­i­tive time, not a pleas­ant time. It cer­tainly had its chal­lenges.

But I built the busi­ness up and we had some very prof­itable years. In 2003, when Mark passed away, I was ap­proached to go to Hong Kong for a year to fix some things. Eight years later, I came home. It was fas­ci­nat­ing to de­velop busi­nesses in China, Asia and Aus­tralia as se­nior vice-pres­i­dent and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Asia-Pa­cific. But my son Daniel turned 13 last year and I wanted to come home.

When I look at the size of IMG’s mar­ket and what we un­der­write and take on – sport, me­dia, fash­ion and en­ter­tain­ment – it’s ex­tra­or­di­nary. For the past three years, we’ve had ex­cel­lent growth, and a record last year – earn­ings be­fore in­ter­est, tax, de­pre­ci­a­tion and amor­ti­sa­tion were more than $US175 mil­lion. And we’re on track to top $200 mil­lion this year. Through its in­vest­ments and ac­qui­si­tions IMG is do­ing very well.

There are about 70 staff in Aus­tralia and 3500 world­wide. I try to es­tab­lish an en­vi­ron­ment in which peo­ple are happy and they are rewarded for work­ing hard. I get on well with peo­ple. You have to work in a tea­mand be a part of the at­mos­phere and con­trib­ute.

No one achieves any­thing in this com­pany just by them­selves. I’m proud that we have a lot of staff who have been with us for many, many years. Loy­alty and trust are big with me.

When I started out, I was very am­bi­tious and liked


to be across ev­ery­thing. But th­ese days I try to look at greater op­por­tu­ni­ties – new busi­ness – and I del­e­gate. That comes with age and with be­ing com­fort­able with what you’ve achieved in life.

Our chair­man Ted Forstmann died in 2011, so the com­pany will be sold. Who knows what that will mean? I don’t think too far ahead. There’ll be op­por­tu­ni­ties no mat­ter what hap­pens.

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