Meet George Gallate – CEO
With the addition of George Gallate in the role of CEO, RKG is more focused than ever on the intersection of search and social. Coming from Havas Worldwide, George brings more than 20 years experience in the digital marketing world, including building the social offering for Havas.
Tune in as Adam talks with George about where he’s coming from and where he sees our industry heading. In our next video, George goes more in-depth about how he sees search marketing and social media fitting together in the realm of digital experience.
Adam Audette: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to another video here at RKG. I’m Adam Audette, and thrilled to introduce to you today, George Gallate, RKG’s new CEO as of January; so just going on a bit over a month. Welcome, George.
George Gallate: Thanks, Adam.
Adam: Great having you here. We’re in the Bend office today. George, for those who don’t know you, can you give us a little bit of your background?
George: Absolutely. Thanks, Adam. Delighted to be here. Hopefully, the mid-point of a career, but a very long career so far. I’ve been in the communications industry since 1984. For the past 26 years, I’ve been with Havas, most recently as their global chairman of the digital group, a group which actually started in ‘95, ‘96. I have been doing digital since then, all over the world.
I started a digital agency in Australia, out of a direct marketing agency. I saw that digital, the Web, was going to change everything and we needed to change with that. Had a spectacularly great opportunity with Euro RSCG, which is Havas, in terms of building a network and building a network around some very large clients. I’ve basically been doing that since then.
Most recently, when I came back from China, I lived in China for 3 years. When I came back from China to New York, my focus was on social. While running the digital network, I built out the social offering of Havas, which as you know, is quite a large communications group with digital and social at the core.
Adam: Doing a lot of really cool stuff.
George: Having a bit of fun…
Adam: Having some fun.
George: …which is what it’s all about.
Adam: When you’re passionate about this stuff, and your passion obviously shows, comes through, it’s pretty exciting. All of that, and an incredible career so far, at your midpoint, as you said. Why RKG? What attracted you to the company?
George: Search is fundamental to a digital experience, and I was looking for more partners for Havas in how we operate. The research that we did showed that RKG was a pretty interesting company. I went down to Charlottesville actually, our other office, and met the team, and I was blown away. The promise that I was lead to believe, which is RKG’s really smart people, using really smart technology was there: an incredibly long 10-year track record; size, scale, and good people. Instead of that opportunity for Havas had ended up a really career-changing opportunity for me that I’m incredibly excited about.
Adam: Very fortunate for us too, and we’re excited, obviously, to have your participation in leading the company. Having been in the industry for 20-some years, and seeing it evolve from mere banner ads and a kind of a nascent beginning to what it is today, where do you see it going in the future? Where is the evolution of digital marketing? What are we going to see over the next few years?
George: If I could predict the future, I’d be pretty well off. I’ll give you how I’m feeling right now, which is probably a pretty good sense of where I see things. When the Internet started as a commercial opportunity I thought, “Wow. This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” and I wanted to throw everything I could at that opportunity, and it’s been phenomenal. Rarely in a career, from what I understand, do you get this second opportunity, and that opportunity is absolutely focused around social. Social’s a game-changer, and it’s not a funny cat video playing a piano, but social is the enablement, or the empowerment, of anybody to have a voice.
For brands, for businesses to have the ability to be able to create social businesses is what blows me away. I see the future of communications being absolutely modified and improved by social. Yet, I’m at RKG. Why? Digital is about discoverability, and search is fundamental to that. If you look at search and what social does with the enablement of many people and many voices, and the opportunity to create content and share content, and that intersection of search and social is what the future of everything we will be doing is. It doesn’t mean we won’t have paid search; it doesn’t mean that we won’t have TV advertising, but what we will have is a truly integrated and data-informed communication opportunity, which is at that mid-point, that intersection.
Adam: Incredibly exciting.
George: Mind-blowingly exciting.
Adam: I understand you’re going to be talking more about the intersection of search, social, and content coming up here. Keep your eye out for that on the blog. Until then, thank you so much, George. It’s been great. SEO safe!