Zeyad Davids is a partner at the new M&C Saatchi Abel office and holds the position of Managing Partner: Digital, Direct & Data. He is South African born, but moved over to Australia at a young age and spent the majority of his adult life there. After hearing that M&C Saatchi Abel was opening up offices in South Africa, Zeyad decided to return to South Africa.
1. Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. I moved to Sydney, Australia with my parents as a baby and spent most of my childhood and early teenage years between the two countries.
2. What do you like doing in your spare time?
Between running an agency and being a devoted husband and father, there is little time for hobbies in my life. However, I do enjoy reading and watching movies.
3. What hidden talent do you have?
I’m not a bad cook.
4. What is your best characteristic?
I believe that everyone deserves a fair chance at being great.
5. If you weren’t in this industry, what would you want to be doing?
I would be running a small coffee shop somewhere in a quiet seaside town.
6. Accolades or special achievements that you have achieved?
At the age of 20, I was a key member of the leadership team that successfully listed digital media company, Spike Networks, on the Australian Stock Exchange. Two years later, after co-founding Saatchi & Saatchi Interactive (Sydney), The Australian Newspaper recognized me as one of 30 rising stars of business under the age of 30.
7. Who do you regard as your mentor?
I have had several over the course of time. Most consistently, it’s been my father.
8. What is the best advice you have ever come across?
Live well, but not at the expense of others.
9. Where is your favourite Holiday spot?
It used to be Cape Town, but now that I live here I have to find somewhere new.
10. What are you addicted to?
Dark chocolate anything… Will happily go without food to feed this addiction.
11. What cheers you up the most?
Any conversation with my daughters.
12. Which soccer team will you be supporting for 2010 FIFA World Cup other than Bafana Bafana, and why?
The Socceroos (Australia). Their sheer determination to master a sport that they don’t dominate will be a force to reckon with. Plus, I am after all, half Australian.
13. Have you got tickets to any of the games and if yes then which games?
Still waiting for confirmation.
14. Do you have a strange obsession or weird habit that no one knows about?
I do, but it’s better kept a secret.
Industry Related Queries:
1. What school and University did you attend?
Swinburne University of Technology (Australia).
2. What did you study?
B. Business - Marketing and Economics.
3. What was your first job?
Web designer/ developer/ producer.
4. When did you realise you wanted to be in advertising?
I didn’t realise that I wanted to be in advertising until I was approached to join an advertising agency.
5. What made you decide to specialise in the digital aspect?
I started my career as a digital specialist at the dawn of the world wide web becoming a consumer platform. Put simply, I have been a digital marketer since the start of digital marketing.
6. Which country do you think is performing in the digital space?
It’s difficult to put one country ahead of another because not all countries are equal in terms of digital infrastructure and so on. I’ve worked with some exceptionally talented digital specialists from all over the world, including South Africa, so even in the talent stakes, I couldn’t rank one country better than another.
7. How are you going to position M&C Saatchi Abel as the leaders in the digital space?
By making sure whatever we do with the digital platform measurably contributes to growing our clients business.
8. What excites you about your position at M&C Saatchi Abel?
The people that I get to work with everyday and the opportunity this provides, to do great work for our clients.