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What do you do?

I’m the group general manager, marketing, of Luxottica. I oversee the implementation of the company’s retail brand strategy over our network of 830 stores across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Africa. To me, this role is about understanding and defining what the customer needs and helping the organisation deliver products and services to help satisfy these needs. I consider my team to be the representatives of the consumer to our entire organisation.

What was your first job?

There were three ‘first’ jobs: I was ‘chief ghost’ on the ghost train at the Royal Adelaide Show, a cricket coach and I was the owner of my own window cleaning service ‘See Thru Window Cleaning’ in my uni days. My first professional job was an area sales manager for Coca-Cola.

What did you study?

I have a Bachelor of Business Marketing from the University of South Australia and a MBA from the University of Technology Sydney.

Describe a typical day?

I wake up at 5:30am and try to make the first hour of every day my own, which usually includes exercise.

We have a one and a half year old and a two and a half year old who both wake up bright and early at 6:30am. My wife and I juggle duties, with my sign off being a morning cappuccino for Sarah. The early morning goal is to leave for the office by 7:30am.

I like to work directly with people, which often means my day involves a lot of informal meetings. We may catch up with one of our creative agencies or visit one of our stores. I typically schedule work and try as much as possible to have some form of a lunch break in the middle of the day. Every day is about something new and meeting new people and I really enjoy that about my job.

I work from a philosophy, a saying I picked up while living in America: “When you ask a bear to dance you can’t stop dancing ‘til the bear says stop”. In this role, I have asked the bear to dance — my time is now spent with my team to implement our strategy.

What is on the agenda for the next year?

The primary focus is continuing to drive the change necessary to create a truly customer driven organisation.

What brand do you love the most? Dislike the most? Why?

I love Ray-Ban because it stands for authenticity, expression of the individual and has remained true to this throughout its history. In fact I am an admirer of all our brands at Luxottica – whether retail, or product. It’s an exciting marketing playground. Each of our brands has a strong history and following. It’s understanding what makes these brands great and translating this into today’s marketplace that makes my job the best marketing job around.

What do you believe has been the most significant moment in the history of marketing?

Coca-Cola’s introduction of ‘New Coke’ in the 1980s riveted my attention. It was a bit of a debacle with Coca-Cola introducing a new formula for Coke, followed by the excitement of seeing original Coke returned after Coca-Cola listened to its customers about what they really wanted from the beverage company. It was a learning curve for the company and it has forever taught me that companies may own brand assets but that the true ownership of any brand really lies with the consumer.

Where can people find you?