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Saatchi and Saatchi give a personal approach to the recovery
PRESS RELEASE: Bob Seelert, chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, speaks candidly for MeetTheBoss.TV on how he was intent on taking the helm of what was a sinking ship and steering it into a course of thirteen years of concessive growth. What’s his secret? The personal approach!
April 11, 2010 12:54 by Emma Naylor
Bob Seelert, chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, speaks candidly for MeetTheBoss.TV on how he was intent on taking the helm of what was a sinking ship and steering it into a course of thirteen years of concessive growth. What’s his secret? The personal approach!
To call Bob Seelert the saviour of Saatchi & Saatchi is something of an understatement. Renowned as a “turnaround expert”, Seelert was one of the most senior executives to emerge from the troubled business landscape in 2009. In his recent book Start with the Answer, he offers a back-to-basics primer for aspiring leaders. Today, still actively involved in the strategy and management of Saatchi & Saatchi as non-executive Chairman, Seelert offers the firm “advice, counsel and perspective.”
For the truly global communications network, Saatchi & Saatchi boasts 135 offices in 85 countries, and, unlike its peers, doesn’t lay claim to a “mission statement” but a “purpose”: To be revered as the hothouse for world changing ideas that create sustainable growth for clients.
But when Seelert joined the firm to begin an arduous journey, Saatchi & Saatchi was struggling. His method to turn things around was simple: get personal. From his first day Bob achieved incredible feats, and within six months he had built face-to-face connections with staff accounting for over 60 percent of the company’s revenues.
“From my first day at Saatchi & Saatchi, I met with as many people as I possibly could,” he explained to MeetTheBoss.TV Editor in Chief Adam Burns. “There is no substitute for a personal presence. I went to four companies in London and then got on a Concorde and did the same in New York before meeting with the Chairman of our biggest client, Procter & Gamble”.
In short, Bob wanted to break barriers – and he had to be seen as an approachable rock for the company, sharing his vision and hope for the future. He wanted everyone involved to know this, and did the same exercise with clients, bringing both his charisma and long-term outlook to meetings to help build faith in the brand, and his strategies.
It has been suggested that Seelert might be the “last of the old school”. One critic of Seelert’s book wrote: “Coming up through Harvard Business School and then General Foods, his perspective is slightly antique, and that is good.”
In fact, according to Steelert’s own writing, the belief to turn things around has long been paramount in his career. “I have been involved in turnaround situations at Topco Associates, Kayser-Roth Corporation, Cordiant [and Saatchi & Saatchi],” he said. “The similarities between these situations were greater than the differences. In each case, they were companies that had fallen on hard times, but there was a belief that they could rise again like a phoenix from the ashes.”
It has long been this uncanny ability of Seelert’s to talk about his leadership that defines him as one of the business world’s best leaders. His many talents have lead him to make strong relationships with his clients, earn respect from his staff and single-handedly attract new business ventures.