Senior vice- president and managing director, IMG Australia & New Zealand Appointed August 2012
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
WHEN I STARTED OUT, I WAS AMBITIOUS AND LIKED TO BE ACROSS EVERYTHING. THESE DAYS I TRY TO LOOK AT GREATER OPPORTUNITIES AND I DELEGATE.
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.