Howell has made his impact and his fortune in the ad agency world via HHCL and Chime, but won't be resting on his laurels - or anywhere else. With Robin Price and Piers Schmidt, he's planning his next startling move. Andrew Davidson witnesses the initiation of another enterprise in pursuit of the entrepreneurial fruit.
1. GET THE GENE: Rupert Howell has itchy feet. Not his confession, but my assumption. He finds it hard to sit still, a big, bulky man, aged 46, with a kind, slightly daffy smile, who talks and talks and, when he does stop, always looks as if he is about to say something, as if it's hard to dam the flow. He is sitting in jeans and sweatshirt in the sparse front room of his vast new house on his sprawling Surrey estate south of Godalming. The sprawl comes with many acres, many outhouses, ponds, beautiful period features, four-wheel-drive in the garage, gardeners, electric gates - the marks of success.
It is mid-November, the leaves have turned. Howell has cashed in his home in Chiswick to move south to this much more expensive property. He has chucked in a very lucrative job running Chime plc, the marketing services group that bought his ad agency Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury (HHCL) and made him a millionaire. What is he up to? He wants to start again, he says. Those feet are shifting anxiously. He has a plan, but if he screws up, he may have to sell all this.