Tuesday, April 06
I learnt today the sad and shocking news that Vlada Zeman was killed at the weekend by an avalanche in the Italian Alps.
The Czech advertising industry has lost one of its founding fathers. OMD, the agency he built and ran so successfully, was a leader from the day it started. Nobody could run such a business successfully without being tough and ruthless when necessary. But I am just one of many people in the industry who had enormous affection for Vlada. We didn't do so much business, but when we did, he was always fair and reasonable. He had other great passions beyond his work. He would captivate you with stories of his fishing trips in outlandish - and often inhospitable- parts of the world. In every respect, he was a giant of a man.
The last time I saw him it was a beautiful sunny day like today, we met by chance on the street. He was jumping into a taxi so he only had a few moments for me. He didn't speak about pitches, or business at all. The really important thing was the forthcoming international football championship, to be held in neighbouring Austria. He knew I shared his passion for football, and said he would want to include me in his group that would follow the Czech team there. He was really excited about it. He loved life and everything it brought him, and I like to think that he was enjoying the beauty of the natural environment he loved, right up to the point of his untimely death.
Rest in peace, Vlada.