Last year was a big year for Aegis Media following Dentsu’s US$4.9 billion acquisition. And while that kept CEO Nick Waters very busy, we caught up with him for a light-hearted chat. Waters, who has been with the agency for nearly four years, has previously held several senior-level positions at WPP’s Mindshare.
1. What do you enjoy doing outside of work, aside from spending time with the family?
I got persuaded to do triathlons this year, so I have been running, cycling and swimming. Now that I’ve done some I need to improve the time or increase the distance. I haven’t decided which – maybe both. It’s very good for keeping me out of the pub.
2. Who is the mentor who has most influenced you and why?
I’ve been fortunate to work with some very smart people, but can probably point to two mentors – Dominic Proctor and Jerry Buhlmann. Dominic led Mindshare the entire time I worked there and I learnt a lot by watching and listening. He’s a very skilled operator and great with people.
Jerry’s style is very different – a dynamo, high energy, high tempo, and there’s no obstacle that can’t be overcome. You learn different things from different people. (Both pictured below)
3. Harshest thing said to you in your career?
I usually ignore people that talk rubbish, so nothing’s stuck that I can remember.
4. When you were a newbie in the industry, did you dream you would be CEO one day? What kind of CEO did you want to be and how closely have you stuck to it?
No, I didn’t think that far ahead. I was only interested in football, beer and girls. Probably in that order.
5. Your biggest blunder in your career?
I narrowly avoided one blunder. I did consider moving to ad agency account management, but reconsidered and kept on with media – an ever evolving industry that has suited me well so far.
6. Proudest moment in your career?
Pride is not a useful sentiment in this business.
7. Craziest thing your staff has told you?
“We don’t think we can achieve that budget.”
8. What do you dislike most about the media industry/your job?
Unreasonable clients that don’t pay properly and self-important agency people that think they’re better than they are.
9. Your first job?
Wiring electrical plugs for eight hours a day. I had a set quota to get through and they were randomly tested to see if they were wired right. If one didn’t work you had to open them all up and start again. I lasted in the job for three weeks. Misery.
10. One thing you would say to a newbie in the industry?
Never stop learning.