Forbes CMO Leadership Talk: Boutros Boutros, Emirates

By Thomas Barta
Last updated: May 27, 2021

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.

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.