Malcolm Ashworth

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Malcolm Ashworth
Born (1925-11-14)14 November 1925
Died 7 April 1978(1978-04-07) (aged 52)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1943 –
Rank Captain
Unit Devonshire Regiment
Gloucestershire Regiment
Battles/wars World War II

Malcolm Stanley Ashworth MBIM MCIM (14 November 1925 – 7 April 1978) was a British army officer and a noted marketing and advertising executive. He is credited with saving the highly influential Crawford's Advertising Agency from financial failure in the 1960s, and with helping to establish marketing as a professional discipline in the UK. He was the son of Arthur Broad Ashworth, a naval architect, and, through his mother Kathleen, the great-grandson of Wadham Wyndham.[citation needed]


He was educated at St Boniface's Catholic College in Plymouth, where he was a House Captain (Wyndham) and Captain of the First XV, and at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. He was matriculated into Edinburgh University in 1942 but abandoned his degree in favour of military service.

Military service[edit]

Volunteering for the British army in 1943, Ashworth was commissioned from the IMA and served as a captain in the Devonshire Regiment and Gloucestershire Regiment during World War II in India, Burma and Malaya (Mentioned in Despatches). In 1948 he was placed in charge of intelligence gathering operations in the Kluang, monitoring Malayan Communist Party guerrillas during the Malaya Emergency.[1] He retired from active service in 1952 and was placed on the Regimental Reserve until resigning his commission in 1958.


Upon entering commerce in 1953, Ashworth's progress was rapid and he became Director of Marketing for Quaker Oats in 1957,[2] Marketing Director of Revlon in 1961, and then returned to Quaker Oats in 1963. In 1965 he was appointed as Chairman and Chief Executive to the influential but financially ailing Crawford's Advertising Agency and two years later he mastermined the financial merger with Dorland. In 1970 he was appointed Deputy Managing director of Overmark Smith Warden. Along with other figures, such as Professor Neil Borden at Harvard Business School, Ashworth was a leading figure in growing recognition for Marketing as a professional discipline emerging from what he termed "the marketing revolution" of the 1960s, which he compared to the professional evolution of advertising in the 1950s.[3]

In his introduction to 'A Consuming Passion', the first book ever published on Marketing as a career, he noted that historically many people had "become marketers as a result of happy chance, or had, in fact, been doing a marketing job for our companies without really knowing it." He contrasted this to the new era of Marketing where while "there are no recognised academic qualifications which ensure success in marketing ... success in such a challenging situation demands intellectual ability, imagination and determination of a high order."[4]

Ashworth was Speaker on Marketing at the University of Liverpool in the 1970s until his death, and authored numerous articles on marketing and advertising.[citation needed]

Political interests[edit]

Ashworth was by conviction a centrist and was politically active at a local level to protect community interests, both in his native west country[5] and in London, in particular those affecting children and the elderly. He stood as an independent Centre Party candidate for the parliamentary seat of Hammersmith and Fulham in the 1973 General Election to highlight road safety issues.[6] He was a Trustee of Sir William Powell's Almshouses in Fulham, which were founded in 1680.


He married Ingeborg Laufs in 1957 and had one son. Malcolm Ashworth died unexpectedly in 1978 as the result of cerebral hemorrhage, at age 52.[7]


  1. ^ The Bloody Eleventh: History of the Devonshire Regiment, W.J.P. Aggett, Vol. 3, 1914-1969, p. 517
  2. ^ Management abstracts British Institute of Management (1965) at Google Books
  3. ^ Malcolm Ashworth, forward to A Consuming Passion Educational Explorers, 1970, p. 10.
  4. ^ A Consuming Passion, ibid., p. 11.
  5. ^ The Times, 12 September 1972
  6. ^
  7. ^ The Times, 26 April 1978

Further reading[edit]

  • Schwarzkopf, Stefan Creativity, Capital and Tacit Knowledge, The Crawford Agency and British advertising in the interwar years (Journal of Cultural Economy, Volume 1, Issue 2 July 2008)
  • Aggett, W.J.P., 'The Bloody Eleventh: History of the Devonshire Regiment, Vol. 3, 1914-1969" (Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, 1995)