Kevin’s Bio

Kevin Roberts, founder Red Rose Consulting

Kevin Roberts is an international business leader, founder, and educator. His company Red Rose Consulting counsels business leaders and employees on creative thinking, marketing, and leadership.

A CEO for 22 years, Kevin has an uncompromisingly positive and inspirational leadership style, with an ability to generate ideas and emotional connections that accelerate extraordinary value. Kevin’s latest book 64 Shots: Leadership in a Crazy World (2016) offers frameworks and solutions for winning in a business world that has become volatile, complex, uncertain and ambiguous.

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, over-taking Coke in the ‘Cola Wars.’ In 1989, Kevin moved to Auckland, New Zealand, to become Chief Operating Officer with Lion Nathan, growing the company to become the region’s leading brewer.

From 1997 to 2014 Kevin was New York-based CEO Worldwide at Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the world’s leading creative organizations, with responsibility for the effectiveness of several of the world’s leading advertising budgets including for clients Toyota and Procter & Gamble. He retired as Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi in 2016. For 16 years Kevin was a member of the Management Board of Publicis Groupe, the Paris-based global communications group active in 108 countries and employing 80,000 professionals, as it grew from the world’s seventh largest communications group to the third.

Kevin advises national organizations and global brands across commerce, media and sport. He has honorary appointments and doctorates at a number of universities. He is Honorary Professor of Creative Leadership at Lancaster University (England), Honorary Professor of Innovation and Creativity at the University of Auckland Business School (New Zealand), and Honorary Professor of Leadership and Innovation at the University of Victoria School of Business (Canada). 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. Lovemarks was named one of the ten Ideas of the Decade by Advertising Age in 2009. His 2005 book Sisomo (for sight, sound and motion) explored the future of the screen age.

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, and Chairman of New Zealand home food delivery service, My Food Bag. He is a former director of the New Zealand Rugby Union and former chairman of USA Rugby. He also served on the Board of New Zealand Football and as a Trustee for a Team New Zealand America’s Cup challenge. Kevin has homes in Carefree Arizona, New York, Auckland, and Grasmere in the English Lake District.

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.”

Kevin shares his thinking on Read his archived speeches 1997-2016 at Tweets @krconnect. Red Rose Consulting is named after a Lancastrian heraldic symbol dating from 1485 (War of the Roses).

Key Events:

  • 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.
  • 1982-86Pepsi Cola, Regional Vice President, Middle East.
  • 1987-89Pepsi Cola, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canada.
  • 1989-96Lion Nathan, Director and Chief Operating Officer.
  • 1997Saatchi & Saatchi Chief Executive Officer Worldwide (Saatchi & Saatchi since became part of Publicis Groupe S.A., the world’s largest communications group).
  • 1998Named by Frohlinger’s Marketing Report as the Outstanding Advertising Agency Executive of 1998 (USA).
  • 1998Awarded Honorary Doctorate by the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand “in recognition of achievements as an inspirational business leader and for contribution to sport in New Zealand.”
  • 1997-2000Director New Zealand Rugby Football Union.
  • Trustee of the Turn Your Life Around Trust (TYLA) in West Auckland, New Zealand.
  • 2000Member of the Management Board, Publicis Groupe.
  • 2000Co-author of Peak Performing Organizations – Lessons for Business from the World’s Leading Sports Organizations (Harper Collins, London 2000).
  • 2001-2009Inaugural CEO in Residence at The Judge Business School, Cambridge University’s business school in the UK.
  • 2000-2003 NZ America’s Cup Board of Trustees
  • 2003-2007Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the Waikato Management School, University of Waikato.
  • 2004Awarded the New Yorker for New York Award by the Citizens for NYC, a non-profit organization.
  • 2004Author of Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands(powerHouse Books, 2004) Lovemarks is translated into 17 languages worldwide.
  • 2004Appointed as private sector ambassador to the New Zealand/United States Council.
  • 2004Appointed as Sponsor Governor of Lancaster Royal Grammar School.
  • 2004-2006Board Member of New Zealand Football.
  • 2005Author of sisomo – The Future on Screen(powerHouse Books, 2005).
  • 2006-2014Chairman of the USA Rugby Board.
  • 2006Author of The Lovemarks Effect – Winning in the Consumer Revolution(powerHouse Books, 2006).
  • 2007Appointed Profesor Honorario de la Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) [Honorary Professor of the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences].
  • 2008-2014Director. Board of Telecom New Zealand.
  • 2008Author of Diesel: XXX Years of Diesel Communication (Rizzoli, 2008).
  • 2008Appointed Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
  • 2009Appointed Honorary Professor of Creative Leadership at Lancaster University, UK.
  • 2009Awarded Honorary Doctorate in Letters by the International University in Geneva as testimonial to “life-long contributions and commitment to innovative business thinking”.
  • 2009Awarded Honorary Doctorate in Laws by Lancaster University for “contributions made to the field of creativity and innovation in business and education”.
  • 2010Lovemarks named one of the Top Ten Ideas of the Decade, by AdAge.
  • 2011Inducted (the first non-Latin American) into FIAP (Festival Iberoamericano de Publicidad) Hall of Fame.
  • 2013Made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to business and the community.
  • 2014Ongoing appointment Honorary Professor – Institute for the Contemporary Arts at Lancaster University.
  • 2015Chairman of My Food Bag.
  • 2015Appointed Honorary Professor of Leadership and Innovation at the University of Victoria (B.C.) Peter B. Gustavson School of Business.
  • 2016Retires as Chairman Saatchi & Saatchi
  • 2016Founder, Red Rose Consulting