Justin Graham will now split his time between his home in Sydney, and global M&C Saatchi headquarters in London. But this new role wouldn’t have been possible before the Hybrid world that COVID has introduced, he told Mumbrella this week.
The M&C Saatchi Group ANZ CEO was named as the agency group’s global head of advertising at its Capital Markets Day event in London last week, and will now be leaning on his leadership team locally to help him burden the load.
“I’ll have less time, but I’ll be more focused around that time,” says Graham on the Mumbrellacast of his local responsibilities, pointing to a strong network of local agency leaders that will head up the ANZ market alongside him, including Bohemia CEO Paul Hutchison, M&C Saatchi CEO Michael McEwan , M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment managing director Krystyna Frassetto and Re CEO Patrick Guerrera.
“I think it would’ve been very challenging to do this pre-Covid,” Graham admits, referring to the network’s presence in key global markets around the. “But I’ve been given the opportunity to go and do this, and it’s going to be a good case of time management.”
As the group this year looks to fill a number of new roles in key global markets, Graham says the next 12 months will have “a bit more of an onus on travel” to build out the M&C Saatchi team.
“The idea of having someone that isn’t in a traditional hub like London or New York leading a network is really progressive,” adds Graham, noting the Australian business’ significance to the M&C Saatchi network globally, accounting for almost a fifth of its talent worldwide.
As for Graham’s plans to align the agency globally, following significant organisational change in the last 18 months, Graham says he will be looking to develop the advertising side of the group as a “real specialism” globally.
“The group’s been on a tremendous growth trajectory, certainly over the last four or five years, largely off the back of high margin and high growth specialisms. As it stands today, the advertising specialism contributes around 50% of the revenue but only around 20% of the profit.”
For most markets, Graham says the advertising offer still represents the front door into other specialisms, but this is something the group is looking to shift.
“The really interesting part of that Saatchi name and why its so famous is that it’s associated with brilliant work and very entrepreneurial cultures and the history of M&C Saatchi has been very much the DNA of founders and owners setting up businesses all over the world and coming together, probably tied together by that DNA and less so by global clients like some of the hold co’s are.”
“The job for me and the team overall is ‘how do we go and embrace that entrepreneurial DNA that we’ve got, recognise that there’s some unique skillsets in some of those different areas, and use technology and relationships to start to bring that together?’”
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