Kevin Roberts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named Kevin Roberts, see Kevin Roberts (disambiguation).
Kevin Roberts
Born 20 October 1949
Lancaster, England

Kevin John Roberts CNZM (born 1949) was the Chief Executive Officer Worldwide of the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi from 1997 to 2014. In September 2006, Saatchi & Saatchi won a US$430 million JC Penney contract because of the idea of lovemarks, which was invented and promoted by Roberts. Since January 2015, Roberts has the taken up the post of Executive Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi.

Early life and career (1949–86)[edit]

Roberts was born and raised in Lancaster in the northwest of England. He was educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School in the 1960s. He then became an assistant brand manager for Mary Quant Cosmetics in 1969.[1] Roberts was later promoted to a brand manager.[2]

From 1969 to 1986, Roberts worked as International New Products Manager at Gillette to Group Marketing Manager at Procter & Gamble (P&G) to Regional Vice President at Pepsi Cola, Middle East in 1982.[3][3]

Executive career (1987–96)[edit]

In 1987, Roberts was appointed to the first "Chief" role in his career, as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Pepsi Cola, Canada. While at Pepsi Canada, Roberts notably executed a publicity stunt after a keynote speech to a group of Pepsi Canada employees, bottlers, and the media. Roberts had a Coke vending machine rolled onto the stage while he was speaking. As he finished his speech, he reached down, picked up a machine gun, and blasted the Coke machine.[4] "[Roberts] meticulously planned the spectacle, borrowing a gun from a squad of police officers and rigging the vending machine so that he had to fire only one blank to set off a dazzling rat-a-tat-tat." [5]

From 1989 to 1997, Roberts was Director and Chief Operating Officer of Lion Nathan.

CEO Worldwide (1997–2014)[edit]

In 1997, Roberts was appointed the role of Chief Executive Officer Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi. In 1997, Saatchi & Saatchi was in "deep trouble, with morale at an all-time low." [6] Roberts was advised to restructure the business drastically by bringing Roberts's own people in and moving current people around. Instead, Roberts brought in and moved nobody for two years.[7] Against all odds, Roberts was able to get things in Saatchi & Saatchi moving again in one year. Roberts then started the process to make Saatchi & Saatchi into one of the best advertising agencies around the world.

In September 2006, Saatchi & Saatchi won a US$430 million JC Penney contract because of the idea of lovemarks, invented and promoted by Roberts.

In the Queen's Birthday Honours 2013, Roberts was appointed a Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and the community.[8][9]

Books written by Roberts[edit]

Academic Positions[edit]

  • Honorary Doctorates: University of Waikato[10] (1998), International University in Geneva[11] (2009), Lancaster University[12] (2009)
  • Honorary Professorships: Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas[13] (2008), University of Auckland[14] (2008), Lancaster University[15] (2009), University of Victoria B.C.[16] (2015)
  • Professorships: University of Waikato[17] (2003-2007)
  • Inaugural CEO in Residence at Cambridge Judge Business School[18] (2001-2009)


  1. ^ Kevin Roberts. Lovemarks: the future beyond brands p.13
  2. ^ Kevin Roberts. Lovemarks: the future beyond brands p.14
  3. ^ a b Saatchi & Saatchi Media Press Kit about Kevin Roberts. p.1
  4. ^ Kevin Roberts. Lovemarks: the future beyond brands p.17
  5. ^ Ono, Yumiko (11 June 1997). "Saatchi's CEO Roberts Sees Romance With Core Clients". The Wall Street Journal. 
  6. ^ Kevin Roberts. Lovemarks: the future beyond brands p.20
  7. ^ Kevin Roberts. Lovemarks: the future beyond brands p.21
  8. ^ "The Queen's Birthday Honours 2013" (24 June 2013) 80 New Zealand Gazette 2171.
  9. ^ "Queen's Birthday Honours List 2013". Honours List. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet of New Zealand. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  10. ^ Saatchi & Saatchi CEO receives Honorary Doctorate (February 21, 1998) Waikato University
  11. ^ University Newsletter 2009/2010 (2009/2010) International University in Geneva
  12. ^ Kevin Roberts Honorary Graduation (July 2009) Lancaster University
  13. ^ Kevin Roberts - CEO Worldwide de Saatchi & Saatchi (2008) Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas
  14. ^ Honorary Professor of Innovation and Creativity The University of Auckland
  15. ^ Saatchi Chief Kevin Roberts: We Live in the Age of the Idea, not the Ad (October 2, 2014) Financial Times
  16. ^ Kevin Roberts is the First to Receive Honourary Professorship in Leadership and Innovation by Peter B. Gustavson School of Business (March, 2015) University of Victoria B.C.
  17. ^ Sustainable Enterprise Professor Spans the Globe (October 3, 2003) Scoop (website)
  18. ^ Cambridge University Business School names Saatchi & Saatchi head as first CEO-in-Residence (October 8, 2001) Cambridge Judge Business School

External links[edit]