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Australian Advertising Icon and Philanthropist Harold Mitchell Passes Away at 81

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Australian advertising veteran and philanthropist, Harold Mitchell, passed away at the age of 81. Mitchell, the founder of Mitchell & Partners, one of the largest media-buying agencies in Australia, received the prestigious title of Companion of the Order of Australia for his philanthropic work in the arts, health, education, and support for communities in Timor-Leste and Indigenous groups.

Over the years, Mitchell’s influence extended to various boards including Seven West Media, Crown Resorts, New York Philharmonic, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, National Gallery of Australia, and Opera Australia. Following the acquisition of his agency by the British company Aegis, Mitchell served as chairman of Aegis Media in Asia Pacific until Dentsu purchased Aegis in 2013.

In 2016, Mitchell faced a tumultuous period when the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) launched an investigation into Tennis Australia regarding the sale of broadcasting rights. Despite the challenges, Mitchell’s reputation was partially restored in late 2020 when most charges against him were dismissed by the Federal Court.

Colleagues and industry figures such as James Warburton, Michael Stephenson, and Barry O’Brien shared their condolences, highlighting Mitchell’s contributions to the media and advertising sector. Mitchell’s philanthropic endeavors included the establishment of the Harold Mitchell Foundation and support for Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute.

Adam Shoemaker, the vice-chancellor of Victoria University, expressed gratitude for Mitchell’s transformative impact, emphasizing a commitment to continue educational advancement in Mitchell’s honor. The news of Mitchell’s passing was confirmed by the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

Rachel Adams

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