Joseph J. Cronin
President/Chief Executive Officer
Worldwide Saatchi & Saatchi
One of the experiences Joe Cronin most relishes is one that many others dread overseas flights. “I know it’s weird, but the time spent on long flights is the most relaxing time I have,” he said.
Cronin has been wracking up plenty of frequent flier miles in his many roles for Saatchi & Saatchi, particularly on the Toyota account, on which he serves as worldwide account director.
Tokyo, New York, London, Brussels and Chicago are all regular stops on his itinerary, with Toyota expanding into 21 countries.
Cronin’s career with Saatchi & Saatchi took off in 1984 when he was named executive vice president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. He has steadily advanced up the agency’s management ladder, including promotions within the Torrance office as well as the agency’s New York-based parent.
Cronin is responsible for daily operations in the Torrance office, and as part of his duties as vice chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, he travels to agencies throughout the world, overseeing Toyota’s international business.
“I have the unique experience of having been on the agency side of advertising with BBDO and Kenyon Eckhardt, (and on) the client side, working for the Chrysler Corp.,” he said.
When he taught advertising at Boston’s Northeastern University in the early 1970s, he had to approach advertising from a different mindset. It allowed him to step back from the industry and observe how it functions and why. “That is when I learned the most about advertising,” he said.
All this from a notoriously poor student in high school. “My parents spent quite a bit of time with school officials, trying to get me to do better in my studies,” he said. But even while he was performing poorly in high school, he had already decided, at the age of 16, to pursue a career in advertising.
“I have this room at home that has no chairs we call it my nesting area,” he said. “When I need inspiration, I go in there and lie on the floor. Everybody laughs, but for me, it works.”