Colin Gottlieb is a remarkably serious Spurs fan and he is very, very serious about his job. To this day, he won't take a client to a match, because those are two incompatible, equally absolute, priorities.
He entertainingly mimes the awful outcome if he were to try, alternating between incoherent bellowing in the direction of the pitch and fleeting, flustered attention to the imaginary individual at his side.
You sense that business and football both live in the same part of his brain and he admits that the lessons of each inform the other.
He says: "When I'm sitting at White Hart Lane watching a game of football, and Spurs can't play, I think: in any account review, we will not play how my team is out there playing. It's unacceptable. Whether you win or lose, you have to play as a team: you have to be aggressive, single-minded and really focused."
Gottlieb is evidently still mightily fired up by the last game he played in. In November, the pan-European Renault-Nissan pitch, which he personally led, brought a prospective £400m in additional billings to OMD, the heftiest of the networks in Gottlieb's EMEA division of the Omnicom Media Group.
In 2000, Gottlieb recalls, OMD didn't make the cut for the Renault pitch, but in 2008 his agency won it. "It isn't life or death, but in many markets it was a championship of the world," he says. "It was a 15-round, Madison Square Garden punch-up."
Gottlieb talks about the win with a mixture of grit, humility and awe, name-checking key individuals and particular moments of brilliance. He also notes that, after a peripatetic, sleep-deprived pitch process, he won't ever be tempted by another Radisson burger. But he remains very proud of his people.
"If I were to draw Omnicom Media Group EMEA in competition right now, I would know that I am playing a good team," he says. "I'm not saying we are perfect; our competitors are excellent. But we have been consistently very, very effective, both across countries and within countries."
OMG has undoubtedly had a good season. "We've had a cracking year if you look at what has been achieved across the network," Gottlieb says. "OMD has gone from strength to strength, and there has been some fantastic turnaround by Daren Rubins and Philippa Brown at PHD in the UK - the Cadbury's win in particular.
"We have also set up M2M as another alternative network on the back of Estee Lauder. All in all, 2008 has been a very satisfying year."
In addition, OMG has set a standard across the EMEA region, where its chief executive declares himself well pleased, "whether you are looking at Western Europe; central and Eastern Europe, which is a powerhouse for us; the Middle East, where we are number one, or South Africa".
Global wins at the beginning of the year on Intel and Visa (the latter excluding Western Europe) showed the worldwide OMD network in full flight and Gottlieb is once more full of admiration for his colleagues.
"On Intel, we were absolutely seamless from continent to continent," he says. "Intel said that our business intelligence capability was one of the key discriminators, and coming from Intel that's praise indeed."
Gottlieb knows that you need a solid business if you are heading into uncertain times and he calls attention not just to OMG's collective pitching abilities, but also to its overall management, its integrated digital competencies, its data aggregation, its strengths in content and its brand science team.
"Every client will be looking for a huge contribution to their business next year," he says. "That is a wonderful opportunity, because if there is ever a time that we can impress on clients the difference we can make, 2009 is that year."
Great strides have been made in this large corner of the Omnicom group since Gottlieb took the reins at OMD Europe in 2001 "to basically sort out the mess".
"You had three networks, all with their own media bits, which were all there to basically make cash. It was a complete farce. Martin Sorrell referred to it as a 'notwork'."
Leading the charge
Gottlieb took charge of OMG for EMEA in 2005 and there he remains, leading 35 markets and 3,000 people. A bruiser in his photographs, he is affable and painstakingly modest in person, going off the record whenever he thinks he might be boasting - unless he is talking about his staff.
He is delighted with his lot and claims he is pretty much impervious - sounding slightly embarrassed as he does so - to the lure of big jobs overseas.
"I love going to markets," he says. "I find it a dream to be in Moscow and then Dubai and then somewhere else - it's just fascinating.
"But I come home, I spend time with my family, I go to the football and I live a couple of miles from where I was born. I have one of the best jobs in the world and, touch wood, there are no compromises."
At the end of our interview, Gottlieb takes Media Week down a couple of floors to MG OMD's international department where, after a bit of head-scratching, he isolates the desks from where he and Nick Manning established Manning Gottlieb Media in 1990, with a team of four.
On one hand, Gottlieb says he can't quite believe how far he has come. On the other, he has to admit he has only risen by literally two floors in 18 years.
"That's just the story of my life," he muses, back out on the stairwell. "How much can you achieve without actually going anywhere?"
2006: Chief executive, Omnicom Media Group EMEA
2001: Chief executive, OMD Europe
1990: Founder of Manning Gottlieb Media (now Manning Gottlieb OMD), acquired by Omnicom in 1997 for £12m. He remains as managing partner for four more years
1985: Various non-broadcast roles at Chris Ingram Associates, rising to head of non-broadcast media and planning at CIA Billett
1979: Begins career at Time Buying Services, "doing everything from writing radio commercials to buying TV"
Family: Married to Stephanie with three children: Jodie, 24, Natasha, 21, and Joshua, 18
Car: BMW 3-Series, Ferrari in garage
Mobile: BlackBerry, iPhone at home
Desert island media: Economist, Classic & Sports Car, Everybody Loves Raymond
This article was first published on Media Week