Passing away of Richard Wade, EASA’s founding father

25 July 2022

Richard Wade was the Director General of the Advertising Association in the UK. He was one of a small group of senior leaders from the advertising industry that founded EASA in 1992. He was immensely proud of his role in this, and admired greatly how others made sure that EASA grew and developed over the years to become the extraordinary success that it is today.   

As someone who believed in the power of international cooperation, he was amazed to see how many organisations have come together at both the European and International levels to develop advertising self-regulation. 

Richard Wade – a founding creator of EASA:

Watch Richard Wade explain the inception of EASA, on the occasion of the Alliance’s 25th anniversary. Discover how after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, he sat down with the directors of major brands in Brussels, to set the grounds of what was to become the European Advertising Standards Alliance.

Building on his experience as Director General of the Advertising Association in the UK, he envisioned, in the likes of the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK, a European vehicle that would be a genuine attempt in making advertising legal, honest, truthful, and decent, recognising that responsible advertising is essential for the promotion of all products which are legally available for sale.

From Tributes paid to former AA Director General Richard Wade:

Richard began his career as a Management Trainee at Unilever in 1961 after graduating from New College, Oxford with an MA in Oriental Studies. Shortly afterwards, he joined BBC television as director and producer – Richard was one of the first foreign TV crew in China while Chairman Mao was still in power.

He held the role of Editor of the BBC’s flagship science and technology TV programme Tomorrow’s World from 1970-75. It was here that Richard developed his fascination with technology, a fascination which continued throughout his life.

On departing the BBC as Chief Assistant to the Managing Director, Richard held a series of roles. Aside from Director General of the Advertising Association, he led urban regeneration as Director of Business in the Cities, part of Business in the Community, and was Fellow & Director of Development at St Edmund’s Hall, Oxford. He became a Freemason of the City of London in 1988.

Later in life, Richard founded the website Freespeling, as part of his passion to modernise English spelling, offering users alternatives to 500 difficult or illogical spellings. The project attracted much public interest and commentary.