Worldwide head of Saatchi and Saatchi.
One of New Zealand's most visionary men. Ever.
Kevin Roberts was born and raised in Lancaster in the industrial northwest of England. He was educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School in the 1960s. He was expelled from the school at the age of 16 and became an assistant brand manager and later brand manager for Mary Quant Cosmetics in 1969.
From 1969 to 1986, Kevin 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. 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. He 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." From 1989 to 1997, Roberts became Director and Chief Operating Officer of Lion Nathan.
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." 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. 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.