Johannesburg - Gail Curtis, Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa's Group Chief Executive and head of the Network's Africa Group, was this month recognised by CEO magazine as one of the country's most influential women. Curtis received top honours in the publication's annual list of female achievers in the Telecommunication, Media, TV, Radio and Press category. Gail Curtis is one of the most awarded women in South African advertising.
Curtis was recognised not only for her achievements in advertising, where she pioneered a fresh dynamic service business model when she launched the Old Shanghai Firecracker Factory in 1993, but also for a string of business wins during the past decade and her tireless work in skills development. Curtis is the driving force behind initiatives such as the Imagination Lab and YETI (Youth Education Training Initiative Trust) which enables skills transference through agency learnerships.
The CEO Magazine award follows several other fellowships and accolades including the IWFSA (International Women's Federation of South Africa) award. In 2002 Curtis was the first woman to receive the Financial Mail Long Term Achievement Award for her innovation of the agency business model. During 2006 she was unanimously voted onto the Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA) board and named the most powerful woman in advertising by Finweek.
Curtis was appointed as Group CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi in 2006. Since then, Saatchi & Saatchi earned itself a brand new status in 2008 as one of only eight "Lighthouse Agencies" in the global network, elevating the local operation to the same rank as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Copenhagen and Dubai in a new initiative intended to rocket the group's growth.
The agency earned its standing in the global community, but also regained its stature on the local creative league tables, making 2008 a year of growth and achievements for the Lovemarks team.