Kevin Roberts is the New York-based CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi – one of the world’s leading creative organizations with over 6500 people and 130 offices in 70 countries – and part of Publicis Groupe, the world’s third largest communications group. Saatchi & Saatchi works with 6 of the top 10 and over half of the top 50 global advertisers.
Born and educated in Lancaster in the north of England, Kevin Roberts started his career in the late 1960s with iconic London fashion house Mary Quant. He became a senior marketing executive for Gillette and Procter & Gamble in Europe and the Middle East. At 32, he became CEO of Pepsi-Cola Middle East; and later Pepsi’s CEO in Canada. In 1989, Roberts moved with his family to Auckland, New Zealand, to become Chief Operating Officer with Lion Nathan. He took up his position as CEO Worldwide with Saatchi & Saatchi in 1997.
In 2011, he became the first non-Latin American to be inducted into the FIAP (Festival Iberoamericano de Publicidad) Ibero-American Hall of Fame.
Kevin Roberts has honorary appointments and doctorates at several universities. Presently he is Honorary Professor of Innovation and Creativity at the University of Auckland Business School and Honorary Professor of Creative Leadership at Lancaster University. With academic colleagues, he wrote Peak Performance: Business Lessons from the World’s Top Sporting Organizations, an inspiration-driven business theory and practice. In 2004, he wrote Lovemarks: the Future Beyond Brands, a ground-breaking business book published in 18 languages, showing how emotion can inspire businesses and brands to deliver sustainable value. He has written further books on the power of emotion and the screen age. Lovemarks was named one of the ten Ideas of the Decade by Advertising Age in 2009.
In 2013, Kevin, a New Zealand citizen, was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to business and the community. Currently, he is business ambassador for the New Zealand United States Council. He is a former director of the New Zealand Rugby Union and former chairman of USA Rugby. Kevin has homes in New York, Auckland, and Grasmere in the English Lake District.
Kevin Roberts has an international reputation for an uncompromisingly positive, inspirational leadership style, and an ability to generate ideas and emotional connections that accelerate extraordinary value. He has made presentations to business audiences in 60 countries, with a San Francisco technology reviewer noting, “Kevin Roberts was arguably more entertaining and more informative than any other speaker, speaking about any other subject, anywhere. That is saying a lot, but during the hour of his speech, there was nowhere else in the world that I would have rather been than in his audience, soaking up everything he was saying.”
1949Born Lancaster, England.
1960sEducated Lancaster Royal Grammar School, England.
1969-72Mary Quant Cosmetics, Brand Manager, United Kingdom.
1972-75Gillette, International New Products Manager, Europe.
1975-82Procter & Gamble, Group Marketing Manager, Export and Special Operations, Middle East/Africa.