CMO Leadership Talk: 3 ideas from Boutros Boutros, Emirates Airlines

For my Forbes CMO column, I sat down with Emirates’ marketing head Boutros Boutros. Together with his team Boutros has built one of the world’s most admired airline brands. You can read the full interview on


Here are three nuggets you might find interesting:

I wanted to know what Boutros has learned as a leader during the last 12 months (of a pandemic). Boutros highlighted the importance of a clear strategic vision: “I was often skeptical when people talked about a lofty ‘strategic vision.’ But in our case, that strategic vision—be good, look good, make money—has helped us stay on course. … A strategic vision gives people confidence and direction in times of uncertainty.”

Boutros has built a remarkably consistent Emirates brand experience. But how? The answer: he is very strict: “When it comes to the feel and look, it’s my area. I’ve changed venues for our big events because they didn’t have the right color of flowers. I may sound mad or arrogant, but I don’t care, because I know consistency is the right thing. In certain areas of your work, it’s not a democracy.

Towards the end of our discussion, I wanted to know what Boutros would advise his younger self. The answer may surprise you: “I could have built my own business when I was young, when I didn’t have a family, when I didn’t have commitments…I always tell my daughters, “Finish university now. Then go, try to do your own business. Waste two, three years. Have some ideas … Then you look for a job if you want.

Read the full interview on here.


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