Name: Jim Rossi
Job: Chief marketing officer, XPO Network, operators of a global
interactive airport kiosk network
Age: I just crossed over the 40 mark, so I guess I’m 29 for life.
How did you get into marketing?
By accident. I was enrolled in law school and was working as a bored
paralegal. I had dinner at my friend’s dad’s house and we got into a
conversation where we brainstormed some crazy ideas, which he ended up
turning into a big business for one of his clients. I didn’t know it at
the time, but he was an infamous marketing guru who had worked for David
Ogilvy when it was a six-person shop. It had never occurred to me that I
grew up in a ’marketing ghetto’ until I realised that many of the
surnames of my classmates were the same as the names of many of the
large ad agencies in New York. I could see that this mad genius needed
help keeping things together, so I started working for him. He didn’t
start paying me until about two years later, but the education was
invaluable and I’m still in touch with many of the contacts I met during
How long have you been at XPO Network?
I’ve been advising since the business started (about five years ago) and
became more actively involved over the past year.
What’s keeping you busy?
Until now we have been primarily focused on perfecting our programme in
Heathrow, so we have been in one place. Now we are expanding to other
European cities, as well as the US, so I’m spending a lot of time
shuttling between New York, London and Phoenix.
What are the marketing challenges for XPO Network?
First, we are in the classic land-grab state right now. There are a
number of companies which look at airports and think they are a great
place to launch an interactive business. After five years of going at it
in the busiest airports in the world I’m sure they have no idea of what
they’re getting into, and I’m not sure I would suggest it, even to my
What has been the high point of your career so far?
I spent two and a half years working on marketing for the Olympic Games
in Atlanta. Given what things looked like during that entire time, I
can’t believe what we pulled off.
And your most embarrassing moment?
Having the chairman of a client’s company say he hated the whole idea of
a major programme we developed when he walked in and saw the name and
logo on the opening slide of my presentation.
What individual has influenced you most in your career?
I once read a quote by Arnold Bernhardt where he said that he was glad
that his first job was exploitative, because he would have never
understood how far he would be able to go if he hadn’t been forced to go
beyond his limitations. That has got me through some very difficult
What characteristics do you look for in the people you do business
I prefer to work with people who don’t make it feel like work.
What do you do to unwind?
I have a small theatre troupe that performs ghost jaunts during the
month of October, and I find myself buying too much fresh produce at the
farmer’s markets, which forces me to undertake major cooking
1982-1985: Vice-president, marketing, Robert Haydon Jones &
1985-1987: Marketing director, Xerox Learning Systems
1988 to 1996: Founded Rossi Marketing Services, which became Kelly/Rossi
Communications and then KRH Marketing Solutions after mergers in 1990
1996 - 1999: Co-founded Mark-Net Partners
2000 - present: Chief marketing officer, XPO Network.
This article was first published on Marketing