A dark cloud has been gathering force over the Greek advertising sector for years it seems. As companies go bankrupt under the pressures of an unliquid market, many underhanded deals are being revealed and many simply succumb to pressures.
The apparent suicide of Ashley & Holmes managing director Ms Nagia Kapeletzi underlined the degree of despair in a sector that has suffered more than most during the financial crisis. Ashley & Holmes’ founder and once-strong-man appears to have now fled the country following his arrest in early 2013. Ashley & Holmes went into receivership in 2012 following years of handling government accounts, including the controversial EOT account covering the tourist organization’s global exposure. Ms Kapeletzi was the sister of Mr Sergiatos’ wife, Alexandra.
The reasons behind Nagia Kapeletzi’s desparate move is not known but it was a common secret that Ashley & Holmes’ woes were not going away – if anything they were likely to be mounting, given that the investigation into overpricing and bribery have been ongoing for years. At the same time, Mr Seriatos himself is rumoured to be making a comeback through a new company THINK BIG established under his wife’s name in early 2014.
Ashley & Holmes’ once-dominant empire stretched throughout the Balkans and also included media companies and a production outfit. Soon after 2004, it became apparent that the bubble was about to burst. And burst it did.
This is not a scathing attack on a particular company, the dire financial state of which is likely to have cost a woman her life – this is a reminder that bankrupt companies like Leo Burnett, ALTER Channel, LIBERIS Publications, IMAKO, Kerdos Newspaper and many others in the broader spectrum of marketing, advertising and publishing represent thousands of lives and a lot more than just words and numbers on paper. It is true that as companies started dealing with the Greek public sector and gaining lucrative public contracts they were exposing themselves to a toxic time bomb of corruption, greed and cash. It appears that the private sector in Greece has not that many positive lessons to endow the public sector – instead they seem to be locked in a deadly grip spiraling into the abyss.
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