A view from the top
A view from Jack Klues

A view from the top

It's Monday morning and I wake up in New York. Nothing particularly new in the fact that I'm not in Chicago (my home base) but, this time, I'm travelling with my wife and kids, so the benefits of "nearing retirement" are becoming increasingly evident.

After breakfast, we head to 67th and Columbus Avenue for the Live! With Kelly And Michael show, after which we meet the hosts. My lunch meeting with my boss and mentor, Maurice Lévy, is pushed back a day because the rain in New York has delayed his flight, so I meet with Frank Voris, my successor and chief executive of VivaKi, to discuss the strategic planning session he’s hosting on Wednesday.

Then, back to the hotel to pick up the family and head for the Hilton, where I’m honoured to receive the Marketing Leadership Award from the UJA-Federation. Fortunately, Maurice’s flight has landed and his remarks are humbling.

Up early Tuesday to meet with Maurice before catching a 9.30am flight to Chicago. We talk about the strategic vision for VivaKi and some of the new partners that Frank and Rishad Tobaccowala are aligning with to expand the ad tech, data management and next-generation storytelling capabilities they deliver to the Groupe.

Wednesday, I’m on a train heading south to Quincy, Illinois, the small town I grew up in. The five-hour ride is a great opportunity to catch up on all of my Cannes-related e-mail. I’m presiding over the Media jury this year and we’ve spent several months refining the submission, jury and voting process. I recently engaged the jury in a digital discussion to help define "creativity in media". The request stimulated a thoughtful, provocative exchange. I’m inspired. When I get to Quincy, I spend a quality afternoon and evening with my 91-year-old mother and marvel at her tenacity.

Thursday is a day trip to Los Angeles and a visit with the Disney client. I’ve been very much attached to this business since leading a multi-agency team from Publicis Groupe to successfully defend it two years ago. The Disney win assembled talent from Zenith, Razorfish and Starcom Media­Vest Group, and the team is going strong. I’ll miss this client a lot when I am officially retired (next month).

After Disney, I meet up with a candidate we are contemplating for a role in India. Very impressed and I know he could build on the momentum the Groupe has achieved there through three digital acquisitions and a solid run of new business.

After unpacking on Friday morning, I dial into a conference call with the Gamma Zeta Chapter Alumni Board for which I’ve just been named the president and chairman of Alpha Tau Omega. They want me to bring my business experience to bear on the organisation, and we have several business decisions to make on the call.

I jump on another conference call with the executive committee that helps me organise Swing for the Kids, an annual golf outing I started to support for the girls’ programme at Off The Street Club. The club is Chicago’s oldest boys’ and girls’ club, and it serves more than 3,000 kids in one of the five most dangerous neighbourhoods in the US.

I pack during the call because my wife and I are heading back to the airport this afternoon, catching a flight to Paris. We’ll spend the weekend there and then move on to Cannes on Monday, when I will meet with the festival team and prepare for the eight-day Media Lions jury process to follow.

Jack Klues is the chairman of VivaKi