22 January 2009

Miles To Go - An interview with Miles Young, new CEO of Ogilvy

I was flying from New Delhi back to Goa last week with Kingfisher Airlines , which has free newspaper service even in domestic economy service. I picked The Times of India, which is the Indian equivalent of FT. In their supplement named "Brand Equity" there was an interview with Miles Young, who is the new and the first non-American CEO of Ogilvy.

The header was; "On his first day as global CEO of Ogilvy, he chose to be in Mumbai (Bombay) - a clear indicator of where he sees the future" Well, it may be correct because how many of you know that Global Hub for Digital Production of Ogilvy is in Bangladesh? ;) Anyway... let's have a look for some highlights from the interview;
  • His immidiate priority is Ogilvy's clients instead of financial issues during the global meltdown.
  • His second priority is to set longer-term business plan for Ogilvy. He believes in 5 year plans. He states that; "We have had some success in countries like India with five-year plans, which some say are rather communist-like. Annual plans tend to be quite short in terms of horizons. So I introduced five-year plans initially in China, then in India and also in Japan. Now, I want to do a global five-year plan"
  • Lessons (which I also agree) from his Asian experience, in his words, are; "One thing that I am taking from here is the optimistic and pragmatic way of approaching life" and "Patience. Asian cultures on the whole are more patient. The Goldman Sachs way of life is kind of impatient. Sometimes be prepared to wait, be prepared to argue through to get to a consensus are important techniques of the business, that our colleagues in the West don’t have"
  • He defines the digital medium in India (including online marketing as well, I think) as a conundrum. Well, to be honest, this is the truth :) There is a huge potential along with lethargy.
  • He thinks that arrogance is what ultimatelydestroys an organization
I think it is good to read the whole interview to understand him a bit more and see his global vision. Here is the link for Times of India - Brand Equity
Congratulations and good luck Mr. Young...

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