LONDON — AxiCom’s European CEO Henry Brake passed away suddenly on 8 February, aged 45. He had worked for the WPP agency for 20 years.

Brake joined AxiCom’s London office in July 1999 as an account executive. His energy and enthusiasm saw him quickly excel as a team member, manager and then as a practice leader responsible for UK, regional (Europe/EMEA) and global communications campaigns. He was already a member of the senior team in 2008 when AxiCom was acquired by Cohn & Wolfe (now BCW), joining the family of WPP companies.

Over the course of his PR career Brake managed many of the agency’s most disruptive technology clients as well as household names including Dell. His commitment and dedication to client service and business growth saw him take on an agency leadership role, first as UK managing director from June 2014 and then as CEO of AxiCom’s seven European offices from June 2018. More recently, he was pivotal to AxiCom’s corporate rebrand in 2018, and spearheaded the agency’s refocus on new services and even greater growth.

Brake took great pride in recognising and celebrating the achievements of those who worked with him. In December 2019 he championed and hosted the series of events and activities marking the agency’s 25th anniversary, which brought together more than 250 past and present clients and colleagues, as well as global partners, media, industry analysts, influencers and agency friends to celebrate the milestone.

In a LinkedIn post published to mark the anniversary, Brake said: “Despite so much change over the past 25 years, our values have remained consistent, placing intelligence, initiative and integrity at the heart of everything we do, and applying a fierce can do, and do, attitude. Our focus has always been our clients. We invest in truly understanding their needs and ambitions, helping to identify their lifeblood, so we can communicate it most effectively, with our finger on the pulse of their audiences around the globe.

“At face value an agency may look like a group of people at one point in time, but it is not. AxiCom is, and always will be, a collective of our incredible current team, our former colleagues, our clients today and every single one that preceded them, the media, industry analyst and influencer communities that we interact with every day, and the myriad of partners we work with to deliver creative, engaging and integrated campaigns.”

AxiCom’s UK MD Kate Stevens said in a statement: “Henry had a huge and lasting influence on everyone he met, not least his AxiCom colleagues, clients and partners that have worked with him over the past 20 years. He was dedicated and smart, loyal to a fault, with a winning sense of humour – he had the gift of making people he worked with feel valued. His passing leaves a hole in all our lives, and we are grateful to have known him.”

The agency has set up a GoFundMe page to support Brake’s family: “Though we have lost a truly inspirational leader, a deeply caring colleague and our friend, our thoughts are very much with Henry’s family. He was so proud of his wife and two young daughters and loved them with all his heart. We have chosen to remember our dear friend, and loving husband and father, by raising funds to support his children’s futures," said Stevens.

To contribute, please go to:

The service to celebrate the life of Henry Brake will take place on Thursday 27 February at 11.00am at St Botolph’s Church, Swyncombe, Oxfordshire, RG9 6EA.