Henry Brake obituary: 'One of the good guys – smart, funny and loyal'

AxiCom’s European CEO, Henry Brake, has died unexpectedly, aged 45.

Henry Brake is survived by his wife and two children
Henry Brake is survived by his wife and two children

Brake worked at AxiCom for more than 20 years, joining the London office in 1999 as a PR account executive.

He worked his way up to practice lead of technology, serving major clients including Dell, IBM, Microsoft and HP for 15 years.

Brake was elevated to UK managing director of the WPP agency in 2014, UK chief executive in 2017 and then European CEO a year later, leading a team of more than 100 staff in seven offices.

He implemented AxiCom’s corporate rebrand in 2018 and refocused the agency's service offering and growth strategy.

AxiCom UK MD Kate Stevens said Brake left a lasting impression on those he had met throughout his career.

“We will remember Henry as one of the good guys – smart, funny and loyal. As CEO he cared about ensuring a supportive and relaxed environment for his team to work from, and he took great pride in recognising and celebrating all of their achievements,” she said.

Stevens recalled the time Brake and an AxiCom team competed in Tough Mudder, literally around the corner from his home in Henley.

Another fond memory was when Brake trained with a colleague to run the London Marathon five years ago – which they successfully achieved.

"In terms of how he worked – he was incredibly collaborative. He worked in true partnership with all of our country managers to help understand and overcome their unique in-market challenges," she added.

"He was a friend and advisor to clients, many of whom have kept coming back to AxiCom as they moved onto new roles."

In December, Brake hosted events and activities to mark the agency’s 25th anniversary.

At the time, he said: “Despite so much change over the past 25 years, our values have remained consistent, placing intelligence, initiative and integrity at the heart of everything we do, and applying a fierce can do, and do, attitude.

“At face value an agency may look like a group of people at one point in time, but it is not. AxiCom is, and always will be, a collective of our incredible current team, our former colleagues, our clients today and every single one that preceded them, the media, industry analyst and influencer communities that we interact with every day, and the myriad partners we work with to deliver creative, engaging and integrated campaigns.”

Brake, who died following a heart attack, is survived by his wife, Lucy, and daughters Amelia and Tabitha.

AxiCom has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money to support his family. If you would like to contribute, please visit: Remembering Henry Brake.

For support and more information on coping with grief, contact Cruse, the national grief helpline.

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