Travelling the world was all part of the day job for Kristof Fahy, who during his six years at Orange co-ordinated the roll-out of the mobile business to countries as diverse as Australia, India, Hungary and the Dominican Republic.
“I was flying back from Sydney and when I landed in LA I looked at my phone,” Fahy recalls, thinking back to his first marketing job in international brand development at Orange.
“I had a text from my boss saying ‘can you call me?’. He said: ‘Are you OK to not come home? Can you go to Boston as we’ve just bought a business there?’ So I ended up in Boston for six weeks.”
From globetrotting at Orange to taking on the likes of Apple while at BlackBerry, Fahy’s background in the mobile sector set him up well to take on European responsibility at Yahoo, a move he felt he needed in order to bolster his digital knowledge.
It was a huge learning curve, not least because the vice-president of marketing role was new to the business so Fahy was central to shaping its direction.
While Fahy didn’t have a burning desire to enter the gaming sector, his move to William Hill not only gave him a seat at the top table but opened his eyes to a new pace of delivery in an environment where he was given the room to take risks and make some “glorious mistakes”.
Following a stint at Telegraph Media Group, it was this speed that enticed Fahy back to the gaming sector, where he helped bolster the Ladbrokes brand ahead of its merger with Coral. He is now on to pastures new having just announced his departure from the firm, but he remains driven by a strong sense of commerciality, an inherently competitive nature and desire to be the best.
Gaining global experience from the get-go
Orange, various positions (1999-2005)
“I was working as an account director at agency Dutton Merrifield in Bristol when I heard Orange was setting up in Belgium. There was an opportunity to work in Belgium for a couple of days a week and I thought, if there’s a chance to do it for two days a week they might be looking for someone full-time?
“Four weeks later I was working at Orange. Someone else had been allocated to Belgium, but there was an opportunity to help launch Orange in Australia. I went out to Sydney for eight months and it was brilliant.
“My first role as international brand development manager was really an amazing experience. When you’re doing a launch it is everything from network quality to customer services to the commercial aspect of brand and marketing. It was a good broad education.
“In 1999 I became director of global brand communications, running all the advertising across Orange’s marketing department. I then spent a year and a half as head of brand, planning and advertising in the Orange UK business, which was great because it was back to doing things rather than asking other people to do them for you.”
Implementing a consumer strategy
BlackBerry, brand marketing director, EMEA (2006-2007)
“I’d been given a BlackBerry three weeks before and I then got a call from a headhunter saying they were looking for a European brand director at BlackBerry. Luckily I got the role and loved it, but it was a real wrench leaving Orange.
“BlackBerry had been marketed as a business product and they wanted to keep the business market, but also drive into the consumer market as well. The popularity of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was crazy. While it was driving handset sales,…