Photo: Kevin Roberts
Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts keeps a blog, KR Connect, on which he writes about the things that inspire him, the great work his agency is doing—and also his ridiculous travel schedule.
“I’m travelling constantly so I spend around 250 nights a year in hotels,” he wrote on May 30, before listing his favourites. Those hotels include the Bulgari in Milan, where the cheapest room starts at $761 before taxes and extras. He also likes the Ritz-Carlton “everywhere” (starting at $619 a night in some locations) and Italy’s Orient Express Hotels ($2,800 a night).
Roberts claims his work as the boss of one of Publicis Groupe’s biggest agency brands doesn’t suffer even though he’s out of the office 68 per cent of the time, because he works seven days a week and doesn’t believe in work-life balance:I just don’t believe in work/life balance. I’m sick of hearing about it. I’m fundamentally opposed to balance in every shape and form. I believe that nothing succeeds like excess. And that balance and moderation should be avoided at all costs.
I work 7 days per week. I also play 7 days per week. Working 7 days per week makes my life easier, fun, and more enjoyable. It takes the pressure off the 5 day work week by giving me valuable stolen hours of the weekend to lighten the ever growing load. I get more done in a 3-hour session on a Sunday morning than in 3 days of a normal working week.
Massages in Thailand
Of course, if your work week included getting massages in Thailand at a luxury resort ($615 a night) while on “a 5-day Classic Cleansing diet [comprised] of vegetable juice, potassium broth, wheatgrass, and lots and lots of water,” you’d be able to tolerate the schedule too.
Not everyone thinks Roberts’ tourism is fabulous. One commenter on the Adscam blog noted:
I have flipped over to “the dark side” as a client now. If the President of our agency did this, and this publicly, I’d have too explain to my CEO how much of our fee is paying for this and what our ROI on that fee is. Then he’d likely tell me to fire them. Wonder how JC Penney, after the quarter they had, feels after seeing this.
(Note: JC Penney and Saatchi parted ways in late 2011.)
Here are some of Roberts’ recent stops:
May 31, New York: My loft had a close-up view of the Twin Towers, and my architect Sam Trimble created for me the perfect sanctuary to crawl into after hard miles on the road. JFK Junior lived in the street. Harvey Keitel was a block or so over and Ed Burns three doors away. Russell Brand has just moved in. Robert de Niro was a strong presence in the neighbourhood with his Tribeca Grill, his film production offices, and various properties on the make including Nobu and the Greenwich Hotel. After 911 he became the “Mayor of TriBeCa” with the film festival leading the charge to rejuvenate an area torn apart emotionally and physically.
May 6, London: A week ago I was flying into Heathrow on British Airways and we were virtually on the ground. We were parallel with the roofs of the terminals when suddenly the pilot hit the accelerator and took the plane up vertically on its nose. Engines screeched, pressure increased, wheels went up and so did we. We screamed into the clouds and there was a fair bit of activity and noise in the cabin around me. The captain then came over the intercom and said we have been pretty close to an A380 and the wind following it had shaken us around. Being off balance the captain felt it was safer to hit wheels up and go around again. We landed safely.
May 1, Singapore: And just last week I was on a Singapore Airlines A380 on a 12-1/2 hour flight from London to Singapore. As we came into land at Changi once again wheels went up and we headed for the open skies rather than the safety of land. A freak thunderstorm hit the airport, took visibility down to zero just as we were attempting to land, and the captain decided it was safer to take us up again.
There’s gotta be easier ways to make a living!
May 3, England: Several times a year I get to speak at universities and colleges. This year I’ve had or got dates coming up in Saudi Arabia, China, Spain, Canada, UK and New Zealand.
March, India, Korea and China: Last month I was in India visiting Mumbai and New Delhi, coming off engagements in Seoul, Singapore and Shanghai.
When I was CEO-in-Residence at Judge Business School I met co-author Jaideep Prabhu, who with Navi Radjou and Simone Ahuja, have sounded a wakeup call from emerging markets to conventional top-down Western innovation that is flailing in the face of today’s challenges.
March 29, England: About two years ago I was speaking to students at Ripley St Thomas in Lancaster, and a young man named Tom Grattan was sitting in the audience.
I caught up with Tom last week at a session for Lancaster University MBA’s. He’s up running and on his way – via Kuwait Airways – for his first trip to the Big Apple.
February, Brazil: This month I was in Rio de Janeiro, presenting to Brazil’s biggest company Petrobras about Winning in the Digital Age (Brazil is a digital and social network Mecca). Brazil has always oozed fun, love and excitement, and if Rio is anything to go by, these days the whole country is pumping adrenaline.
In São Paulo, my Lovemarks include the supermarket Santa Lucia, and the wonderfully-located superb boutique hotel, Emiliano.
February 23, New Zealand: And if you’re in Queenstown on February 23-24 where I’m speaking to the Entrepreneur’s Summit, the beer’s on me.
Early February, Los Angeles: One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to get fit in 2012. Dan Harvey, a LA based fitness guru, who is Robert De Niro’s personal trainer, arranged for me to work with one of the gang, Erik Hansen. Erik is a clear thinking, passionate, empathetic personal trainer with Norwegian roots.
Late January-early February, Riyadh, Amsterdam and France: What do the Global Competitive Forum in Riyadh, Amsterdam Fashion Week, and the Midem Music Industry conference in Cannes have in common? You guessed, I visited them all in the last 7 days, as a guest and keynote speaker.
Late December, Moscow: I’ve just been to Russia for the first time in 6 years. After my first visit I wasn’t in a huge hurry to go back. Many travellers to the country take perverse pleasure in trumping each other with stories of difficulty, bleak weather, challenging bureaucracy, bland food and incomprehensible complexity. Three hours of traffic from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport made me feel like I might be in for the same again.
What a difference 6 years makes!
Moscow is now alive with a youthful spirit, and truly impressive people.
- What’s On DraftFCB CEO Laurence Boschetto’s Mind Right Now
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