Douglas McArthur, architect of the RAB, passes away aged 68
Douglas McArthur OBE, the recently retired chairman of UKOM and the architect of the Radio Advertising Bureau, has died following an illness.
A hugely popular figure in the media and advertising sectors, McArthur was nicknamed the 'Dundee Exocet' in recognition of his formidable, yet highly effective nature.
In a career spanning more than 35 years, he launched the Radio Advertising Bureau - now Radiocentre - and effectively created the model to launch further trade and marketing bodies, including Thinkbox, Newsworks and Magnetic.
Although he had no particular desire to work in radio, in 1992 McArthur was presented with a challenge by Jimmy Gordon - now Lord Gordon, and then co-founder and managing director of Clyde Radio - who said he needed the medium's revenues to match its audience.
Facing deep scepticism about the RAB's likely success from the trade press at the time, McArthur was able to turn radio's fortunes around and within a decade share moved from 2% to 7%.
McArthur graduated with a degree in theoretical physics in 1973, but due to financial pressure attended a Unilever recruitment session for graduate trainees. Realising that marketing sat perfectly in the middle of the business, he chose a job in advertising.
He would later take on roles at P&G where his love and aptitude for maths were of huge benefit, and eventually propelled him into agency-side planning roles which he said suited his academic background and where he applied "intellectual rigour and honesty" to empirical evidence.
He also went freelance and worked at Leagas Delaney when the agency produced the famous the ‘Phirrips’ ad.
Towards the end of his career, McArthur became the chairman of UKOM, the body that sets the industry standard for online audience measurement. As he retired at the start of the year, he said he took on the role because he thought digital measurement was "cowboy land", and relished the challenge of fixing it.
McArthur passed away peacefully on Monday night surrounded by his wife, Miranda, and his family.
There will be a family funeral and, later in the year, an opportunity to celebrate the life of this special man.
Read: Dundee Exocet bows out with a parting shot, by Dominic Mills (published March 2019)