Richard Humphreys

Richard Humphreys

“Choi? I haven’t thought of that name in years,” admits Richard Humphreys about the Korean partner who helped bankroll his 1993 purchase of a majority stake in N.W. Ayer. For London-based Humphreys, that ill-fated investment was another lifetime ago. “Advertising is something I used to do,” he shrugs. “I don’t go into the office at 9 a.m. and leave at 5 p.m. I do the things that interest me.” That entreprenuerial reflex launched Humphreys’ career in global advertising after he sold his agency to Saatchi & Saatchi and became a top executive there. After falling out with management, Humphreys decided to run his own show again, settling on Ayer. These days, the 56-year-old is involved in a half-dozen Internet-related companies that include sites devoted to e-commerce, biotechnology and recruitment. Ever enigmatic, Humphreys declines to identify them. Humphreys is also consulting for a variety of enterprises outside the U.K., including American media and cable TV companies in Asia. He had been spending two months every summer at his home in Provence. But now that his sons are 18 and 20, Humphreys sold his French digs and is looking for a place in Tuscany. Not that he’s thinking of moving to the Italian countryside full-time. “Retirement? I’m not sure what that word means,” he says.MagnumMatrixMagnumMagnumMatrix