Chief executive partner of the M&C Saatchi Group South Africa, Mike Abel, was recognised for his excellent contribution to South Africa's business and creative sectors by being awarded a Nelson Mandela University (NMU) 2021 Alumni Achievement Award on 7 December 2021.
Chief executive partner of the M&C Saatchi Group South Africa, Mike Abel
The NMU Alumni Awards were created to celebrate outstanding alumni who use their talent, leadership and expertise to contribute positively towards society while addressing complex challenges and having a positive impact on those around them.
Abel has enjoyed a career spanning more than three decades in different countries, building some of the biggest names in advertising. He co-founded M&C Saatchi Abel, the first creative company in the M&C Saatchi Group SA, just over a decade ago. In October 2020, in his book Willing & Abel: Lessons from a decade in crisis
, Abel captures key lessons behind building one of the most recognisable creative brands on the continent during a difficult ten years in South Africa.
Abel’s belief that “the people with the best people win” has underpinned much of his leadership: investing in talented people and giving them the space to grow into industry leaders. This unrelenting orientation towards excellence has paid off handsomely, with all M&C Saatchi Group companies being recognised as leaders in their fields and representing top brands on the continent, while simultaneously being demographically diverse and transformed.
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“This university carries the name of the greatest South African to have lived, Nelson Mandela. And so, beyond it being a massive honour to receive this award, it is a massive responsibility to live the values and build on the legacy of our nation’s founding father,” said Abel.
“I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Nelson Mandela University and the Alumni association for bestowing this huge honour on me. I remember the university fondly, and it played an integral role in shaping my values, just as it continues to develop tomorrow’s leaders today. Beyond being a beacon in the city and a driver of economic growth in the region, the university shaped me personally in my formative years - knowledge and wisdom I have carried with me throughout my career.”