What do you look forward to in this job?
Seeing if I can do it on a global scale. I’m a great believer that hard work will get you there. I don’t think there’s any massive secret to success. It’s about passion and commitment. I’ve been able to achieve that in other places. Now I’m thinking if I can instill that across all of our offices, then this can be one of the most incredible stories of this decade in terms of agencies.
What do you dread?
I’m not very good with names (laughs). I have a really bad short-term memory.
What global CCOs do you admire and why?
Tony Granger has done a great job [at Young & Rubicam]. I admire the tenacity with which he got in and turned the network around pretty quickly. Back at DDB, I think Amir [Kassaei] has done a great job. His passion is incredible. For me, one of the consummate global creative directors is Mark Tutssel. Mark obviously is driven by the success of Leo Burnett. But I also think that he’s driven by the success of the whole industry. I feel like he supports the industry in general.
Who has had the greatest influence on your career? Bob Isherwood and Maurice Saatchi.
What did you learn from Bob?
Bob was really the first global creative director that I ever had access to when I was a young creative at Saatchi in Sydney. He showed me how he could really influence a global network. He always had the “nothing is impossible” attitude.
What about Maurice?
He speaks with such confidence and he has never worried about taking risks. He positioned himself with clients in particular as a voice above everyone else.
How do you explain North American CCO Jeff Benjamin leaving to start his own shop?
I don’t know Jeff that well, but in the time that I’ve spent with him, I feel like he’s more of an entrepreneurial, indie agency guy. He gave me that impression. So, I think he’s following his heart.
A year from now, what do you hope to have accomplished?
To have instilled a belief in the agency that we can push ourselves harder than we ever have before and a desire to want to do that. Right now probably some people look at where we are and think, “Well, that’s where we are because that’s who we are.” I always believe that you can be more than you are just by applying passion. And I don’t know if it’s going to be in time for 2015, but I would like to see us do better at Cannes.
How would you describe Gustavo Martinez, your new boss?
He’s like a whirling dervish of energy. He’s also a genuine emotionally connected person. We connected immediately because professionally we admired each other’s work. But he’s actually very emotionally present as well, which is nice in a partner—someone who’s happy to say great things, positive things and be very genuine.
What is your biggest pet peeve about the industry?
That we are kind of down on each other, which I find frustrating. I don’t know if it’s an American thing or not, but in Australia, there’s definitely an advertising community that all supports each other. In Cannes, you see Australians celebrating other Australians winning, which is great. I would love to see that more in the U.S.