Roth Associates Founder Dick Roth dies at 84
Dick Roth, founder of search consultancy Roth Associates (now part of Roth Ryan Hayes), died "peacefully" at the age of 84 on Dec. 31, 2020, according to his obituary in the New York Times.
Roth founded Roth Associates in 1988, which was among the earliest ad agency consulting firms and Roth Ryan Hayes on its website credits him with foreseeing "the need to help marketers identify, select and compensate advertising resources." Added the firm: "Over 25 years ago, Roth established the agency search category in the United States with his founding of Roth Associates. Since then he has been involved in hundreds of searches, pioneering the best practices for the industry as a whole, for which the Roth Ryan Hayes consultancy has gained significant renown."
In 2016, the firm was acquired by Matt Ryan, former New York co-chairman and global brands president of Havas Worldwide, and Chris Hayes, ex-global chief marketing officer of Code and Theory, creating what is now known as Roth Ryan Hayes. Roth was chairman of Roth Ryan Hayes.
Ryan, CEO of Roth Ryan Hayes, said in a statement to Ad Age that Roth "was most proud of the role he found himself in as an honest broker between the ever changing need of marketers and the ever changing agency landscape. He loved advertising as a whole. The strategies. The work. And most of all, the people he came to know."
In a LinkedIn post, Ryan added that Roth continued to advise the firm up until his passing.
"I spoke with him a few days ago and, as you might expect, he was giving his perspective on current reviews and suggesting he could step in and help if we needed it," Ryan wrote in the post. "His legacy of candid advice to marketers and fairness to agencies will continue. He'd like that."
Three years before Roth's firm was acquired by Roth Ryan Hayes, it merged with consultancy The Observatory International. That firm continued on as its own company following the 2016 acquisition, but it said at the time that it could strategically align with Roth Ryan Hayes on certain projects.
Before his foray into consulting, Roth spent 12 years at defunct ad agency Scali, McCabe, Sloves, which was taken over by Lowe Group in 1993 and operated as Lowe & Partners/SMS until its name was eventually dropped in 1999. He was executive VP for the agency before departing. Roth also worked for WPP's Grey, where he oversaw accounts including Procter & Gamble and General Foods during his time in the industry. He started his career on the marketer side at General Foods.
According to his obituary, Roth received his MBA from Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business. It said he served in the Air Force Reserve and lived in Europe before moving back to New York, "where he had a long, storied career in advertising." With the founding of Roth Associates, the obit read he "broke new ground in the media industry, and traveled the world for his clients."
"I lost a friend," AdForum Founder Hervé de Clerck commented on Matt Ryan's LinkedIn post. "He went off his tracks to advise and help, we would not miss our regular lunches where we complained about clients and agencies alike, regret the good old days and reshape the business to our views (as it should be!) He was a man of his word and a friend full of self-mockery!"