Saatchi & Saatchi CEO receives Honorary Doctorate
21 February 1998
Kevin Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, today (21 February) was made an Honorary Doctor of the University of Waikato at a special graduation ceremony at the university's Management School.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bryan Gould said the honour was being made in recognition of Kevin Roberts' contribution to business, to Waikato University and to sport. "Kevin Roberts is a successful and dynamic businessperson who helped to steer Lion Nathan to a place of significance on the world stage, before becoming CEO of global advertising giant, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide. He is recognised as an innovative teacher and researcher within Waikato's Management School and has made a significant contribution to New Zealand's sporting community through his involvement with the New Zealand Rugby Football Union.
"The degree of Honorary Doctor is a very high university award. To be recognised this way, an individual must have made a truly outstanding contribution to society, not just within a narrow field of endeavour, or at a local level, but at a national and sometimes international level too. Kevin Roberts meets all these criteria," said Professor Gould.
This is the 36th Honorary Doctorate of the university to be conferred since the first in 1967. Other recipients include Sir Peter Tapsell (1997), Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (1996), Dame Sylvia Cartwright (1994) and Dame Malvina Major (1994).
Kevin Roberts was appointed Senior Fellow with the Department of Strategic Management and Leadership in June 1997. He teaches on the MBA programmes within the Waikato Management School and is involved with a major research project on Peak Performing Organisations.
In November last year, he was the keynote speaker at the UK Strategic Planning Society's 30th Anniversary Conference - the Future of Strategic Management, sharing the platform ahead of management guru Gary Hamel. Roberts announced the preliminary findings of research undertaken with senior Waikato Management School colleagues into Peak Performing Organisations. The research is based on extensive interviews undertaken with top sports teams around the world, including the All Blacks, The San Francisco 49ers, Team New Zealand, The German Football Association and the Chicago Bulls.
Professor Mike Pratt, Dean of the Waikato Management School, said the study's findings could have major implications for business in general. "Our group really believes that the sport of business is a more attractive metaphor than business as a battleground. In sport we surely find peak performance and amazing talent, creativity and stamina," said Professor Pratt.
Kevin Roberts said he was tremendously honoured to receive the Honorary Doctorate and was looking forward to his continued association with the Waikato Management School. "I feel honoured to be a part of that team. It gives me an environment where I can hothouse ideas and also keeps me hooked into the latest developments in academic thinking and theory. Like Saatchi & Saatchi, the Management School is an ideas factory. They live on innovation, risk taking and hard driving initiatives."
Professor Pratt said Kevin Roberts was an inspirational player in many walks of life. "It's tremendous that his contribution to the life of this nation is recognised in this way. He is an outstanding and innovative business leader with a sophisticated knowledge and understanding of the management disciplines."