Meet the MD: David Hughes
David Hughes is one of Hogarth Worldwide’s UK Managing Directors – a unique role that sees him work closely with the various and diverse arms of Hogarth’s business. Recently profiled in Business Quarterly, here he gives an overview both of his role and of Hogarth.
What does your role include?
I’m MD of Hogarth in London which is actually several businesses in one; our core business of creative production for national and international clients, as well as our creative agency and media joint ventures.
London’s the global HQ. From here we manage many international clients and co-ordinate our EMEA offices across Dubai, S. Africa, Germany and Bucharest. My role involves running our London P&L with our UK management team – otherwise known as the three amigos’, Matt Kitcherside, Billy Mann and of course, myself.
What is it the company does?
We started life as a decoupled production business – so rather than a client/brand going to many agencies, they’d come directly to us to manage the whole production process – but now we do much more than this. We do creative production right through to media delivery of full marketing and advertising campaigns.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I started my career working in integrated agencies. My last assignment was with Proximity BBDO where I ran the Shell business globally. This was one of Proximity’s biggest International clients.
I jumped ship to the smallest digital agency in London but I learnt a lot such as how to build Facebook Apps – some of the UK’s first – which gave me a great knowledge of social media very early on.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Passion and vision. The ability to see the big picture and not get diverted by the slings and arrows. You need to keep going so I guess stamina is important too, as well as a very good sense of humour. You need to have the ability to get on with different people also helps.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Getting accurate data is crucial to managing a complex business. This was a challenge in the early days in a fast moving production business. Data helps you make the right decisions and sometimes the systems we used in the past didn’t provide the data we needed.
Another challenge is keeping our talent pool red hot. We always need good people.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
Exercise is pretty good stress reliever and my children are quite good at keeping me busy. I surf (badly) and have recently taken up yoga, which I enjoy. When I’m not doing either of those, I’m fishing or out in the countryside with my family.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Ocean Biologist. I still want to be one – maybe I am one in a small way!
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?
Committees! We try and avoid them but they sometimes creep in. And I hate generic credentials for clients. They can always be tailored to what the client needs and their sector.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
A global production and media delivery powerhouse for WPP businesses and their clients, with a strong international hub network covering all key geographies.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Don’t be shy. Follow the money.