Steve Davies




In 1999 the Chairs of The Advertising Producers Association, Lewis More O’Ferrall and John Hackney
set about looking for a more legally oriented CEO to help steer the organisation and guide its members
through a rapidly evolving commercial landscape.

At interview it was immediately apparent that, in spite of the candidate’s mild mannered demeanour,
his bristling intelligence, wry wit, and appetite to achieve great things shone through. So impressed
were they both, they even had to put to one side his support for Tottenham Hotspur.

And so it was that Steve Davies found himself in Beak Street, in an industry which, at the time,
he knew almost nothing about.

From day one, Steve wasted no time however. On went the trainers and he visited every single
member company in order to better understand their issues and to set about dynamically
changing them for the better.

Perceptively, he took away two essential principles facing every member company; that at the core of
every production was the need to manage risk and, that at every stage of the process they required
certainty on every level - so his primary mission became his effort to grant them both these things.

Those that know Steve know he not only has an agreeable temperament, but is also utterly fearless.
He is pragmatic, dogged and fair. So it’s no surprise that not only were APA members winning 100%
of industry disputes, but Steve would go further still, by negotiating and introducing new union
agreements including fairer working practices and a ten hour day.

He brokered fresh contracts and Tripartite Agreement with Clients and Agencies, re-evaluated the
nature of Insurance and generally created a safer, more secure industrial platform fit for the twenty
first century.

Consequently, disputes have almost been consigned to history. In so doing, he won the admiration
and respect of peers and those on the other side of the negotiating table, recognising a man who
goes about his work with much benign kindness at the centre of his being.

Then, without pausing for breath over the coming years, he partnered with the UK government to
open up unexplored foreign markets sending promotional task forces to Tokyo (twice), Mumbai,
Beijing, Mexico City, Silicon Valley, Seoul and Shanghai, bringing hundreds of millions of pounds
of business to the UK.

In the last quarter of a century Steve has transformed The APA from a London-centric organisation
of 75 production company members into a globally recognised tour-de-force of over 400 companies
across Production, Post, Editors, Musicians, Animators, VFX, Immersive/Experiential and Sound Design.

In 2020 he led us through Covid and it is almost impossible to overestimate the impact he
had in keeping our industry from disaster during this time. When our industry was scattered
Steve was the glue that kept the community together.

He developed and negotiated an industry-wide modus operandi for a return to shooting, the
template for which was adopted by Film and TV around the world, that allowed us, against all
the odds, to keep our doors open and remain in business.

Since then, he has introduced a Code of Conduct, set up an Unconscious Bias programme,
a Diversity and Inclusion policy, and a Wellbeing directory. He has developed member
Marketing Strategies, provided Advice services for Contracts, promoted a Green agenda,
partnered with Just Runners and Creative Mentor Network, established The APA Show,
masterminded and curated industry events and seminars on a host of subjects,
most latterly AI, and, in the process, still managed to make us laugh.

But what stands out to me as his most significant accomplishment is the introduction and
growth of The APA Masterclass. I was among the early participants of the programme and the
skills it equipped me with nearly 20 years ago were as invaluable to me as I’m sure they’ll prove
to the 121 graduates in 2024. This is a man who deeply cares about the future of our industry
and has invested in it - to the benefit of everyone in this room.

Whoever you may be, he has time for you, seemingly without limit and, pivotally, has ideas
and answers. And he religiously follows up. Always.

How this same individual has the time to be the great family man, play football and be secretary
of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Club, travel the globe and still be up to speed with the
latest industry issues is beyond even those who work alongside him and know him well.
So I’m delighted that he’s made time this evening for us to say, Thank You Steve.


The Mill logo


This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience.