Nigel Morris

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[London] Nigel Morris, chief executive of global digital network Isobar, presented his first paper on the Internet back in 1993.

His faith in the medium has never wavered. In 2000, in the depths of the dot-com bust, he forecast that half of media consumption would be digital by 2007 and advised parent company Aegis Group to invest heavily in new media.

"People were saying it was a passing fad," Mr. Morris remembers. "But we tracked penetration, usage and time spent. All increased all the way through the crash. There was not a blip."

Mr. Morris's foresight has put Aegis at the vanguard of new media. Isobar, launched in July 2004, already accounts for 13% of the group's media revenue and boasts organic growth of more than 20%. Global clients include Eastman Kodak Co. and Adidas.

Isobar is a full-service global digital network, with 62 offices in 32 countries across Europe, the Americas and Asia. These include many of the hottest properties in the digital world, like hot London shop Glue and Sweden's Farfar.

Mr. Morris "is understated, low key and relaxed," says Mark Cridge, chief executive of Glue. "He's not your typical corporate animal, but he obviously understands that world and operates within it fantastically well."

Mr. Morris, 46, has a clear strategy for Isobar: "The Isobar link underpins and supports the companies with best practice, process and technologies, but we celebrate diversity."

The Isobar name isn't stamped across the network. "The agencies we have bought all have fantastic reputations, great cultures and clients, and a sense of passion and evangelism," Mr. Morris says. "It would be wrong to give clients the message that we are the same everywhere-digital communication is so personal that it has to be local."

All acquisitions, however, are 100% Aegis-owned. Mr. Morris seeks out shops that have been through boom and bust and come out the other side. "It shows strength of management if they have been through the dark times and come out recognizing the potential of the medium and want to be part of something bigger," he says.

Mr. Morris's interest in the Internet was sparked when he worked in fashion in the late 1980s and saw developing technologies applied to textile production. He later got involved in corporate identity, then moved to a marketing role at Aegis in 1992.

"Our immediate objective is to achieve good coverage in the top 40 markets," Mr. Morris says, "but I've always said that it will take another five years to sort out Isobar."

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