Ad man sold on the JC retiring after 49 years

Brian Kyte, the paper's outgoing property sales manager, was so highly valued that relocation plans were once changed to ensure he stayed


When Brian Kyte joined the JC advertising team almost half a century ago, he was unsure if he had made the right career decision.

Forty-nine years on, he “can certainly say that I did my bit for the paper of the community”.

Brian, the JC’s longest-serving employee, retires this week, aged 75, and current and former colleagues have lined up to pay tribute.

The paper’s property sales manager was valued so highly by bosses that relocation plans were once revised to ensure his retention.

“We didn’t want to upset Brian,” recalls former JC chairman Stephen Grabiner.

“There was a period when we were all absolutely worried that he would leave us so we didn’t move to a place he didn’t want to come to.”

With his unrivalled knowledge of the North-West London housing scene and an enviable contacts book, he would be remembered as “Mr Property”.

“Editors would change. Managing directors would change. But Brian was [always] around. He’s amazing. He’s a mensch.”

Current commercial director Debbie Rose praises him for his “old school” approach, which has played well with advertisers. “He is a true gentleman, an amazing representative for the JC and someone who will be sorely missed”.

Supplements editor Angela Kiverstein, a colleague for 35 years, says Brian has adapted seamlessly to changes in both newspapers and the property world, remaining “calm, courteous, smiling and generous with his thank you gifts of four-finger KitKats.

“It’s hard to imagine supplements without him.”

Back in the early 1970s when Brian started at the JC, a full-page advert sold for £700 (close to £10,000 in today’s money). A landline and typewriter were job essentials and there were regular meetings with clients to maintain relationships.

“Now it’s all done on the internet, on your iPhone, your iPad”, he reflects.

Another change has been in work attire. When he joined, there was a strict dress code within the advertising department. “Polish your shoes, nice tie on, nice shirt, nice suit. You never would think of going to clients without a tie on.”

He had felt part of a team in the advertising department with many colleagues becoming firm friends, who he will stay in contact with. “That is the difference with the Jewish Chronicle. There is a closeness.”

Ann, his wife of 50 years, had been happy for him to continue working beyond the normal retirement age. But the pandemic had changed things. “Not being able to see clients, to me it was alien. It was alien to everyone. It wasn’t what I wanted.

“She knew I wasn’t enjoying working from home all the time and said: ‘If you don’t enjoy it, then make the decision and retire’.”

He is proud of his long association with the JC, saying it remains “synonymous with quality — a marketplace paper that you can rely on to get the right information”.

Down the years, he has received regular feedback from readers in shul on Shabbat (he is a Borehamwood and Elstree United member) — and not always positive.

But it showed “you were part of a community, which was something I enjoyed”.

For the grandfather of three, a well-deserved retirement will include “a bit of gardening”, playing golf and, when safe to do so, a cruise holiday.

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