PROFILE: Jonathan Sanchez, global chief comms officer, Euro RSCG Worldwide

New York City-based Jonathan Sanchez was in London last week, and put aside a couple of hours for PRWeek'sinterview. But all did not run smoothly.

A courtesy call to his secretary before we meet reveals that Sanchez has had to suddenly fly back to New York.

Then, a few hours later, Sanchez calls from his mobile. ‘I know, I must be your worst nightmare,’ he says, before revealing that he is in a taxi, en route to the magazine’s Hammersmith offices.

When he arrives, suitcase in hand, Sanchez apologises profusely, before explaining that he has spent the morning being ‘besieged by journalists from around the world’.

His stressful morning – and his constantly beeping BlackBerry – give some insight into the pressures of his global role. Havas-owned Euro RSCG Worldwide has 233 offices across 75 countries. ‘There is not a whole lot of free time,’ says Sanchez, his voice demonstrating the slight effect that seven months in the Big Apple can have on an English accent.

Sanchez, who is just 32, now lives with his partner in an apartment above a Dunkin’ Donuts in Manhattan, a long way from his childhood home of Cornwall.

He studied a media studies diploma at Cornwall College: ‘Then, as soon as I got the opportunity to stop eating pasties I started stalking the BBC and asking for work experience.’

Sanchez later worked in travel and food TV, before moving to radio. He talks particularly passionately about his time at Talk Radio, despite being sacked when the station was relaunched as TalkSport – ‘I know as much about sport as I know about brain surgery,’ he admits.

Sanchez was told to go into work the next day and collect his belongings – ‘so I went in and stole everyone’s contact books and walked out’. His dry sense of humour, coupled with his obvious ambition, make it difficult to know whether this is a joke.

After a short stint at LBC Radio, and feeling like he had ‘run out of places to work’ within broadcast, Sanchez joined Freud Communications as an account manager – a logical move given his love of light entertainment. ‘It was, and the tense is important here, the only PR company to know. It had a story, an edge.’

Sanchez says he was aware of Freuds’ alleged ‘long-hours culture’, but it was ‘all about the opportunity. People were gleefully working 18 hours a day’.

Sunday People editor Mark Thomas, who knows Sanchez from his Freuds days, says he has a ‘great sense of humour’ and is ‘very honest, professional and straight-forward’. He adds: ‘Jonathan understands the psyche of the “other side” of the fence.’

Sanchez’s next move, to Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster in 2004, surprised some observers, given the agency’s relative lack of glamour. He says he saw the shift as akin to a two-year project to help enliven the agency.

As one of three MDs, looking after ‘brands’, Sanchez believes change was achieved – many staff were hired and fired, and the practice took on trendier accounts, such as New Look and Jaguar. But he does admit that those changes have yet to alter some people’s perceptions of the agency.

Now Sanchez is working for the Euro RSCG group as a whole. He says: ‘Other corporate comms people – who I tend to find not always fascinating – ask me, “How do you ensure that when you walk into Euro RSCG Shanghai, it looks the same as Euro RSCG Tokyo?” But that’s not what we’re about – our point of difference is that we are not obsessed with size or consistency, we are concerned with local knowledge.’

With his international overview of marcoms, Sanchez says PR is in a prime position to benefit from what he calls the ‘global ideas democracy’. He ass­erts: ‘Growth will come from whoever has the best idea. Clients are saying “I just want an idea that works, and I want it to be integrated”.’

Sanchez’s bugbear is that PR often ‘sells itself short’. He says: ‘We need to take more pride, be more confident and demand a place at the top table.’

As far as Sanchez is concerned, one would not expect anything less.

CV - Jonathan Sanchez

2006
Global chief communications officer, Euro RSCG Worldwide

2004
Joint MD, Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster

1999
Board director, Freud Communications

1999
Editor, LBC Radio

1997
Weekend editor, Talk Radio UK

1994
Producer/director, Transmedia Productions

1992
Production co-ordinator, BBC Light Entertainment

1990
Producer/production manager, Film Heritage UK

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