Our Team

We work across our locations in global teams, collaborating on projects with each other and our clients.

  • jacob

    Jacob Benbunan

    Chief Executive Officer

    jacob

    Chief Executive Officer

    Jacob Benbunan

    What do you do?

    I founded Saffron, soon joined by my mentor and friend Wally Olins, one of the pre-eminent thinkers and practitioners of corporate identity and brand strategy.

    Leading a team of over 70 Saffronites, I operate an open door policy and engage daily with people from all levels of the company.

    Championing the global, multi-cultural and one-team approach that Saffron has embraced since the very beginning is particularly important to me.

    Increasingly I’ve been invited to comment in the press on brands as they change and to share my experience in the industry.

    What’s your background?

    An engineer by training (BS and MEng from Boston University), I started as a management consultant before pivoting into the world of brand strategy.

    Prior to Saffron I worked for 9 years at Wolff Olins, where I was part of the team that created the telcom brand Orange.

    At Saffron I have led projects including the creation of Vueling, Facebook Company, YouTube, the rebrand of Bankinter and Swiss Re. On top of these, the project I’m most proud of is Saffron. For its multicultural approach to the world, its embrace of diversity and its hard working approach to branding.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    I’m a staunch Real Madrid supporter, I enjoy a good havana cigar in good company – or alone for that matter…

  • gabor

    Gabor Schreier

    Chief Creative Officer

    gabor

    Chief Creative Officer

    Gabor Schreier

    What do you do?

    I lead the design team across Saffron’s international locations. With over 20 years’ experience driving big, bold design work across the world, when I’m not working on client projects or managing the design team in Saffron, I teach, speak at design conferences and jury awards.



    What’s your background?

    Born in Germany, I trained as a craftsman in lettering, screen printing and restoration, carrying on a family tradition in the third generation before studying design in Stuttgart and Ulm.

    I started my career in Berlin, helping to create the identities for Daimler, Smart and Mercedes-Benz Bank.

    Working closely with the founders of Saffron, Jacob and Wally, I worked to grow Saffron into what it is today, particularly our international expansion. I’ve led the creative thinking behind A1 Telekom Austria, The City of Vienna, Swisscom, Gulf Air, Hyperloop TT, YouTube and Facebook among others. Being fluent in German, Spanish and English is helpful for the multinational clients we often have.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    I’m Saffron’s resident car aficionado, I could talk about the automotive industry for hours…

  • Luz_v2

    Luz Erhardt

    Chief Client Officer

    Luz_v2

    Chief Client Officer

    Luz Erhardt

    What do you do?

    As Saffron’s Client Services lead I work with my team to continuously improve the way in which we orchestrate and manage client relations, paramount for achieving positive and impactful results. 

    When I’m not in the office or with clients I also spend time teaching at IE’s School of Human Sciences and Technology in Madrid.

    What’s your background?

    I was born in Spain but have German roots. I’ve led long term programme engagements for a broad range of clients including Sodexo, Facebook, Engie, YouTube, ORF, SOS Children’s Villages and Sabadell. I speak Spanish, English and French.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    I love anything to do with Sci-Fi and have a soft spot for my daughter, Mini-Luz, whose similarities don’t just end with the name!

  • fer

    Fernando Ortiz-Ehmann

    Chief Strategy Officer

    fer

    Chief Strategy Officer

    Fernando Ortiz-Ehmann

    What do you do?

    As leader of our team of strategists, I work to provide them with insight and inspiration, so they can do truly valuable work for our clients.

    Having worked for several large luxury and fashion organisations for many years, I try to be a voice for corporations and the pain points they have when working with their brand.

    My ambition is to strike a good balance between “poetry” and “engineering” or IQ and EQ which I believe is the holy grail of being a good brand strategist.

    What’s your background?

    I bring over a decade of experience on the client side (in the French luxury conglomerate LVMH, American research firm Kantar Millward Brown and Spanish Fashion brand Desigual). I joined Saffron in 2015 and have worked with many of our biggest clients, including Turkish Airlines, Sodexo, and Engie.

    My professional knowledge spans from operational and trade marketing, merchandising, retail and business development. I’ve had the privilege to live in 5 countries, have worked directly in 40 countries and speak German, English, Spanish, Italian and French. I hold a German and a US degree in International Business as well as an MBA from Oxford.

     

    Tell us a little about yourself

    I have a big passion for perfumes and enjoy spending the weekend watching my three children playing field hockey. And of course, there will always be my football team, Real Madrid…

  • ben

    Ben Knapp

    Chief Growth Officer

    ben

    Chief Growth Officer

    Ben Knapp

    What do you do?

    I’m a brand strategist, working on client engagements. I also lead our product and service development efforts and contribute to Saffron’s organisational development. From 2008 to 2010, I helped set up Saffron’s Mumbai office and am currently leading Saffron’s expansion into the central Europe region from Vienna.

    What’s your background?

    I worked with friends on designing websites around 2000, before starting university. After completing my degree, and several years of growing what had become a real business, I went back to university in London to get an MA in Brand Strategy. I sold the business and joined Saffron in 2006, where I have worked ever since. 

    I’ve worked for clients across a wide range of industries and locations including A1 Telekom Austria, the cities Vienna and London, Kyocera Document Solutions, Facebook and Xing.

    In 2018, I co-authored a book on disruptive branding together with Jacob Benbunan and Gabor Schreier, published by Kogan Page in 2019.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    I enjoy technology and cooking/eating, so over the years I’ve progressed from building my own computers to hunting for the best recipe for Ma Po Tofu.

  • alfredo

    Alfredo Fraile

    Chief Business Development Officer

    alfredo

    Chief Business Development Officer

    Alfredo Fraile

    What do you do?

    I lead the global business development team at Saffron. As a team we look for new business opportunities and partnerships around the world that will generate value for Saffron as well as our partners and clients.

    What’s your background?

    After a degree in Mass Communications from Boston University I pursued postgraduate studies at the IESE business school. Making the most of my fluency in both English and Spanish, I began my career working for media companies Antena 3 TV in Spain and Chile’s Canal 13 before going on to leadership positions in middle-stage start-ups UOL and Libre Directo.

    Focusing next on brand consultancy, I joined as an Executive Director at Interbrand’s Iberian office, helping establish the company in Latin American regions. 

    At Saffron, I have helped develop client relationships with BBVA, Hyperloop HTT, Abu Dhabi Ports and YouTube.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    Before joining the world of branding, I followed my family’s profession into the world of entertainment, as an actor in Chilean television and being a singer in a rock band in Boston. I love to ski, mountain bike, play basketball and escape for a run when time (my 4 children) allows.

  • santiago

    Santiago Canosa

    Chief Financial Officer

    santiago

    Chief Financial Officer

    Santiago Canosa

    What do you do?

    As Saffron’s Chief Financial Officer, I ensure we have what we need to keep the work at the highest quality – but always ensuring we stay within our means.

    What’s your background?

    I’ve been in several finance management positions in various industries, like telecoms, ecommerce and retail. Before joining Saffron, I worked at Arthur Andersen, Verizon, Carrefour and PagesJaunes Groupe.

    I have a university degree in Economics and an MBA from IESE business school. I speak Spanish, English and French.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself?

    In winter I love to ski in the Alps with my daughters, in the summer I like to sail. I’m also a passionate piano player, particularly enjoying baroque music.

  • matt

    Matt Atchison

    Creative Director

    matt

    Creative Director

    Matt Atchison

    What do you do?

    I am a Creative Director at Saffron, running the design team and driving the creative process on projects across our Saffron locations.

    What’s your background?

    I have been at Saffron for over 8 years having previously been at The Brand Union, Addison and John Ryan Company. Another of our Nottingham Trent University graduates in Design, I also studied at York Technical College and Leamington Spa School of Art.

    At Saffron, I have been key in the development of projects such as A1 Telekom Austria, Raiffeisen International, Swiss Re and C&A. I speak Spanish and sometimes English.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    When I’m not at work, I am PA to Lemmy, the Saffron Madrid dog. I am passionate about anything to do with wildlife and outdoor activities with a begrudging interest in DIY. Of course design is never far behind.

  • roberto

    Roberto Verona

    Creative Director

    roberto

    Creative Director

    Roberto Verona

    What do you do?

    I am one of the Creative Directors in Madrid, overseeing the creative process and driving teams through the various stages of the programmes.

    What’s your background?

    Italian-born, I studied at ISIA Urbino in Italy, and, as well as my native tongue, I speak fluent Spanish and English. My creative career has taken me via Icon Medialab, Addison and John Ryan Company.

    At Saffron, I have been involved in brand creation and rebranding projects for a range of clients, including Madrid Open, Mtel, Proximus, BSI, Tuenti, Australia’s Alcohol and Drug Foundation, BBVA and Xing.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    I am Star Wars addict and a Lego fan and am happiest when the two come together.

  • craig

    Craig Matchett

    Design Director

    craig

    Design Director

    Craig Matchett

    What do you do?

    I am a Design Director in London overseeing our design team there and connecting creatives across the other Saffron locations.

    What’s your background?

    I am from the North West of the UK. I have worked for a number of global brand consultancies from around the world including Landor and Interbrand. I’ve covered many fields of branding, advertising and art direction and worked on a large range of projects from helping create the worlds most awarded airline to repositioning Australia’s oldest banking institutions, amongst others.

    Since arriving at Saffron in 2016, I’ve been involved in team building, attracting talent and creating a number of global projects from Europe, the Middle East and Russia.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    Outside of the studio I can be found spending a long Sunday afternoon cooking up new recipes. Or hiking the national parks of the UK with a good science fiction novel in tow.

  • drew

    Drew Coughlan

    Design Director

    drew

    Design Director

    Drew Coughlan

    What do you do?

    I joined Saffron from “Down Under” in 2016 and have been bringing a unique perspective on branding and design since then. In my role as a Design Director I nurture and manage the creative teams in London where I am responsible for the creative output.

    What’s your background?

    Before joining Saffron, I worked at a number of industry leading agencies in Australia, including Interbrand, SouthSouthWest and Love + Money. My work covers the fields of branding, graphic and digital design having worked on a range of projects from reimagining national icons to creating disruptive digital experiences.

    At Saffron, I have been involved in the creation and leadership of a number of projects from around the world, from cultural institutions in London to start-ups out of California.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    Outside of the studio, you can find me searching for London’s best flat white or walking my Portuguese water dog Ripley.

  • leif_4

    Leif Steen

    Digital Design Director

    leif_4

    Digital Design Director

    Leif Steen

    What do you do?

    I am a Digital Design Director based in the London office, where I am responsible for leading digital product and interaction design. Originally from Spain, I gained my undergraduate degree from Universidad de Navarra and moved to London to pursue a Design MA at London College of Communication.

    What’s your background?

    With an editorial design and data visualisation background, I have naturally moved into the digital sphere working on projects for Visa, The World Economic Forum, Volvo, Vodafone and News International.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    Passionate about sports, I love playing tennis during my free time and take every opportunity to visit London’s latest exhibitions.

  • charlotte

    Charlotte Black

    Strategy Director

    charlotte

    Strategy Director

    Charlotte Black

    What do you do?

    I lead brand, experience and innovation strategy for a number of our key global clients. As an interdisciplinary strategist, I am passionate about building brands that are authentic, true to their purpose and create a positive impact in the world.

    Since joining Saffron I have played a key role on projects including the creation and development of the Facebook company brand.

    What’s your background?

    Prior to joining Saffron I worked at People-Made on projects all over the world for brands including Farfetch, Loewe, Puig, AstraZeneca and Allen & Overy. I also bring a broader brand and marketing experience having held roles at Condé Nast International and Ralph Lauren.

    I started my career on the Omnicom management training programme and was a Gap Year Scholar at PricewaterhouseCoopers. I hold a first class business degree from Royal Holloway, University of London and have studied digital marketing and user experience design at General Assembly.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    As a global nomad professionally and personally, I am most at home travelling to different places and experiencing new cultures.

  • elena

    Elena Espinosa

    Programme Director

    elena

    Programme Director

    Elena Espinosa

    What do you do?

    I joined Saffron over 11 years ago. I am responsible for monitoring the day-to-day performance of programmes to ensure a smooth and long-lasting relationship with our clients.

    Over the years at Saffron I have contributed to all kinds of programmes, including brand creation, naming, retail experience, brand culture and engagement.

    What’s your background?

    I have worked for clients big and small from all around the globe, including the likes of A1, Cepsa, C&A, BQ, Volotea, Bajaj, Bankinter and Raiffeisen International, to name a few.

    Before Saffron I gained 15 years experience in all aspects of brand communication while working both for major global businesses and well-known agencies.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    I am fluent in Spanish and English and have a background in philology having studied at the Universidad de Salamanca.

  • paloma

    Paloma Castiñeira

    Strategy Director

    paloma

    Strategy Director

    Paloma Castiñeira

    What do you do?

    I am a Strategy Director in our Madrid office. Prior to joining Saffron, I was a Strategy Director at FutureBrand for more than 3 years, leading the Strategy and Communication practice. I have developed brand strategies for clients from all industries from financial institutions to the hotel industry, with clients like CaixaBank, Atletico Madrid and Repsol.

    What’s your background?

    I started my career as a consultant in Deloitte’s Strategy and Operations team, specialising in the development of client strategies.

    I studied Law and Business Administration and Management at ICADE. My first language is Spanish but I am also fluent in English.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    I love tennis and follow all the tournaments when I can find the time. I am an avid reader and dedicate much of my free time to a good book.

    Also, I am passionate about food and travel, especially when done together.

  • andy

    Andrew Harb

    Programme Director

    andy

    Programme Director

    Andrew Harb

    What do you do?

    Having worked for 15 years across brand and technology, I am experienced in delivering technology and brand solutions ranging from large web and app builds with global country rollouts, e-commerce and brand optimisation across a wide range of industries including media, FMCG, government, banking, telecommunication and transport.

    What’s your background?

    Born and raised in Sydney, I spent the last 10 years working in London as Head of Delivery, overseeing teams and engagements with world class clients such as Rio Tinto, Lloyd’s Banking Group, Stage Coach, British Gas, Hasbro and Philips.

    Prior to joining Saffron, I worked for agencies such as Tribal DDB, Grand Union and Rufus Leonard.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    I speak English and have a basic understanding of Arabic and Spanish. While enjoying my weekends scuba-diving I always find the time to have a break and enjoy a delicious dessert.

  • cris_2

    Cristina Sánchez

    Programme Director

    cris_2

    Programme Director

    Cristina Sánchez

    What do you do?

    I have dedicated my entire career to branding. I have been part of Saffron’s team for 18 years, leading project management for large organisations, enacting programs in all areas of brand for banks, industrial corporations, telecommunications and retail companies.

    What’s your background?

    I have worked to build brands for clients such as Bankinter, Cepsa, Banco Santander, Vueling, Volotea and Madrid Open, among many others.

    Before joining Saffron, I worked as a project manager in Wolff Olins, where I had the opportunity to work with clients from a variety of sectors in Spain and South America.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    I love good food, and in my free time I like to enjoy it with my family.

  • anna

    Anna Tyurina

    Programme Director

    anna

    Programme Director

    Anna Tyurina

    What do you do?

    I drive excellence across live projects and new business opportunities on a global basis.

    What’s your background?

    With a background in retail and omni-channel design, my passion lies in the creation of brands that are manifested in unique tangible experiences. Some highlights of my career to-date include leading the creation of new automotive start-up Lynk & Co, from positioning to experience, retail and identity, through to innovation and brand activation; the refresh of Nokia’s visual identity and the creation of a new business proposition for Hyundai’s EV brand.

    Before Saffron, I spent eight years at FITCH, managing a number of exciting engagements with Russian and global clients.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    Born and raised in Russia, I have a BA in Management and an MA in Marketing and Brand Strategy.

  • perico

    Pedro García-Noblejas

    Business Development Director

    perico

    Business Development Director

    Pedro García-Noblejas

    What do you do?

    I am a Business Development Director based in Madrid. I look for opportunities, create points of view together with our strategy and design teams to engage with clients and build relationships that last.

    What’s your background?

    I was previously an investment banker for almost 8 years before joining Interbrand as Business Development Director. With a degree in International Business Administration, experience living in London and Paris, I speak Spanish, English and French.

    Tell us a little about yourself

    I am married with two sons and a dog called Groucho. I also run marathons and love bullfighting.

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