PROFILE: Simon Ward, Brodeur Worldwide - Ward speeds in to UK MD post with Brodeur. Marketing specialist and ex-Formula Ford driver Simon Ward enters PR

Simon Ward's decision to move into PR from a strictly marketing background appears to be as much a sign of the integration of the two disciplines as of his own development.

In taking the managing director post at tech agency Brodeur Worldwide and leaving behind his roots in marketing, Ward is the latest evidence that the PR sector is increasingly seeking to draw on the expertise of those in the wider communications mix.

While you could be forgiven for thinking that bringing a pure marketing man into a PR agency is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole, the move was deliberate on both sides.

Ward's most recent career transition - from leading his own nine-strong marketing firm in Edinburgh - also begs the question as to why he should want to move from a small agency that has found its niche to a company that is fighting a tech recession.

According to Ward, the move was an irresistible chance to help Brodeur achieve its vision of becoming a fully-integrated marcoms company.

'It's easier to be small in a recession - a larger company is a much bigger challenge, but I wanted to do something on a bigger platform and on an international platform,' he says.

And it was Brodeur's vision of evolving into an integrated communications company that led the firm to deliberately search outside of the traditional PR sector for its UK agency head.

'They've started taking steps towards integration but as opposed to broadening their proposition, they've been broadening their definition of PR,' says Ward.

Brodeur's quest to offer clients more than just PR - and capture a bigger slice of the tech market - has so far led it to launch an analyst relations division and speaker platform unit.

But Ward, who remains a marketing man at heart, says 'marketing is the real platform for growth'. Ward says the final result is what counts: 'We're not selling PR - we're selling success, and PR is one way to get it.'

Ward brings to Brodeur experience of managing his own business at Metis Marketing, alongside marketing experience in-house at Toyota, and within large international agencies, such as Abbott Mead Vickers' marketing arm Clarke Hooper.

Prior to Metis, the £600,000-a-year direct marketing firm he co-founded in Scotland, Ward worked for a happy but doomed period as marketing director for the now-defunct work24, ScottishPower and Royal Bank of Scotland's joint online B2B venture.

A victim of the bust, the site closed, making Ward and the team redundant.

Having relocated to Scotland with his wife and two children, Ward launched Metis to escape the downturn to which he is ironically now returning. 'I was so focused on making Metis a success, I put my own needs and career on the side,' he says. Joining Brodeur is, says Ward, like a 'home-coming' - in more ways than one.

Aside from an affinity with the agency's culture and plans, Ward shares, with a large proportion of the UK Brodeur board, a love of all things Porsche-related. He says the company car park is beginning to resemble a Porsche showroom.

Former colleague Mark Gorman, managing partner of Scottish ad agency 1576 - a Metis majority shareholder - remarks on Ward's racing car obsession: 'His biggest regret was that he had to sell his green Porsche to fund the business (Metis). The downgrading of his wheels was the hardest thing for him to take.'

Communications is, in fact, Ward's second career choice, after a brief success as a Formula Ford racing driver during his mid-20s. He concedes that although he won around four races and boasts a host of top six finishes, he 'was good, but not good enough' to make it.

'I liked the adrenaline,' says Ward. 'It's a bit like the feeling of doing a pitch or a presentation. It's just the same when you line up on the grid.'

Part of Ward's passion for marcoms is this underlying need for speed. Firefly Scotland country manager Crawford Hill, formerly on Ward's agency roster at work24, says 'he gives a great impression of being in control at high speed', both in a racing and work context, it seems.

At Brodeur, Ward's aim is clear: to ensure the firm is in shape to make the most of the tech upturn, when it comes.'My focus is going to be on seeing through the promise,' says Ward. 'Brodeur's inclination has been on developing strategy, and I think I will put more focus on delivering it. It's the actions, not the words,' he adds.

Results are indeed all-important in the current tough tech market.

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