Vale: Harold Mitchell

Vale: Harold Mitchell

Pioneering media buyer, Harold Mitchell, has died, aged 81.

The Australian reports he died after complications arising from recent knee surgery.

He founded Mitchell & Partners in 1976 becoming one of the nation’s largest media and most powerful communications groups and led the development of the media buying industry in Australia.

In 2010 he sold it to Britain’s Aegis Group for a whopping $363 million, becoming Executive Chairman, Aegis Media Pacific.

In December 2000 he launched the Mitchell Foundation donating money to various causes promoting community health and the arts.

He held board roles with the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, the National Gallery of Australia, the Museum Board of Victoria, Opera Australia, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tennis Australia. the Melbourne International Festival of Arts and the Australia-Indonesia Centre and became a patron of the group helping people deal with alcohol problems, Hello Sunday Morning.

In his memoir Living Large he wrote about his own health issues including obesity and alcoholism, and reflected on a dysfunctional upbringing with an alcoholic mother.

He presented the 2003 Andrew Olle Media Lecture, addressed the National Press Club and featured on Q+A, ABC radio and in countless media articles.

He was Chairman of Free TV Australia from 2013 – 2018 but resigned amid allegations he had acted inappropriately by providing secret information about Tennis Australia to Seven in order to help it win TV rights. The Federal Court subsequently fined him $90,000.

Mitchell was made an Officer of the Order of Australia, and a Companion of the Order of Australia, and was a National Finalist in the 2013 Australian of the Year awards.