One global team
We come from many different places speak many different languages and bring diverse skills and perspectives.
Chief Executive Officer
Jacob founded Saffron. He was immediately joined by his mentor and friend Wally Olins, the man who invented brand strategy.
He champions the global, multi-cultural and one-team approach that Saffron embraced since the very beginning.
Prior to Saffron Jacob worked for 9 years at Wolff Olins, where was part of the team that created the iconic brand Orange.
At Saffron, he’s led a number of high-profile client engagements including the creation of Vueling, Akzo Nobel , A1 Telekom Austria, the rebrand of Bankinter and Swiss Re; he spearheaded the expansion of Saffron from two offices (one in Madrid, one in London) to our current global footprint.
An engineer by training at Boston University he is fluent in English, French and Spanish. When he’s not keeping the lights on at Saffron he’s often commenting for the media on issues relating to brand and identity; he was recently on the Cannes Lions design jury. He doesn’t complain when he’s forced to travel in style but has no hesitation jumping into a Mumbai taxi in the monsoons.
Chief Creative Officer
Gabor leads all creative teams across Saffron’s international locations with over 18 years’ experience driving big, bold design work across the world.
He hails from Germany where he originally 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. A bit of a car afficionado, his career started in Berlin where he helped create the identities for Daimler, Smart and Mercedes-Benz Bank.
Working closely alongside the founders of Saffron, Jacob Benbunan and Wally Olins, he contributed to Saffron’s consolidation as a leading international brand consultancy and its international expansion. He’s been the creative force behind A1 Telekom Austria, Swiss Re, Belgacom, Kässbohrer, Bankinter and Vueling Airlines and among others.
Fluent in German, Spanish and English, Gabor also teaches, speaks at design conferences and juries awards.
Chief Client Services Officer
Luz leads client service, heading teams across the organisation, overseeing new business opportunities and setting best practice to deliver the enduring and mutually beneficial relationships that are typical of client engagements at Saffron.
She was born in Spain but has German roots, reflected in the way she mixes an Anglo-Saxon fondness for precision with the typically Latin flair for understanding the EQ end of the spectrum. She's led long term programme engagements for a diverse range of clients including Sodexo, Facebook, Engie, YouTube, ORF, SOS Children's Villages and Sabadell amongst others.
Luz speaks Spanish, English and French and is a lecturer at IE’s Business and Communication Schools in Madrid and Barcelona. She loves anything to do with Sci-Fi and has a soft spot for her daughter, MiniLuz, whose similarities don't just end with the name!
Chief Strategy Officer
Fernando joined Saffron in 2015 and has worked with many of our biggest clients, including Turkish Airlines, Sodexo, Engie.
Offering over a decade of experience on the client’s side, his professional knowledge extends to operational and trade marketing, merchandising, retail and business development. He has led multi-cultural teams and has worked in or with more than 45 countries.
Before joining, he was Commercial Director Asia-Pacific for Spanish Fashion brand Desigual. He also launched Desigual’s worldwide channel for the Hotels & Resorts business for which he spearheaded the business development, product & service offering and distribution strategy efforts.
Moreover, he has held several international Marketing and Sales Management positions at LVMH, the French luxury conglomerate and at Kantar Millward Brown and Forrester Research, both in the USA.
As well as being fluent in German, English, Spanish, Italian and business French, Fernando holds an MBA from Oxford, a Bachelor of International Business from Boston’s Northeastern University and a Diplom-Betriebswirt from FH Reutlingen in Germany.
He has a passion for perfumes and enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 children.
Chief Growth Officer
Having been a central figure in Saffron’s development since meeting Wally Olins in 2006, Ben is Chief Growth Officer at Saffron, driving Saffron’s strategy whilst also leading Saffron’s expansion into central Europe, reinforcing our presence in German-speaking countries in partnership with Berlin-based brand and innovation consultancy kleiner und bold.
Ben’s career began even before he started university when he set up a design company in Austria, a business he continued to run until finishing his postgraduate studies.
He has worked on a range of clients since joining Saffron from London’s Royal Opera House to technology brands A1 Telekom Austria and Fujitsu. Ben has also been deeply involved in various national branding programmes for London, Durham, Northern Ireland, Poland and Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2008, Ben helped launch our Mumbai office. But now he’s settled back in Europe, focusing on his strategic role, working with brands such as Voith Group, the social network Xing, Raiffeisen International and online gaming brand Bwin.
Chief Business Development Officer
Alfredo manages Saffron’s presence in North America, has nurtured our growth in these important markets and around the world.
Alfredo qualified with a BS in Mass Communications from Boston University and pursued his post-graduate studies at the IESE business school. Making the most of his fluency in both English and Spanish, he began his 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, Alfredo joined as Executive Director at Interbrand’s Iberian office, playing a major part in the company’s development in Latin American regions. At Saffron, he has helped develop client relationships with BBVA, Coca-Cola and Bankinter.
Chief Financial Officer
Santiago is Saffron’s Chief Financial Officer, ensuring we have what we need to keep the work of the highest quality – but always ensuring we cut our coats according to our cloth.
Santiago has developed several finance management positions in various industries, like telecoms, ecommerce and retail. Before joining Saffron, he worked at Arthur Andersen, Verizon, Carrefour and PagesJaunes Groupe.
Santiago has a university degree in Economics and an MBA at IESE business school. He speaks Spanish, English and French.
Matt is Creative Director at Saffron, running the design team and driving creative process on projects across our Saffron locations.
Matt has 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, he also studied at York Technical College and Lemington Spa School of Art.
At Saffron, he has been key in the development of projects such as A1 Telekom Austria, Raiffeisen International, Swiss Re and C&A. He speaks Spanish and sometimes English.
When he’s not at work, he’s PA to Lemmy, the Saffron Madrid dog. He’s also passionate about anything to do with wildlife and outdoor activities with a begrudging interest in DIY. Of course design is never far behind.
Roberto runs the design team at Saffron Madrid, overseeing the creative process and driving teams through the various stages of the programmes.
Italian-born, Roberto studied at ISIA Urbino in Italy, and, as well as his native tongue, he speaks fluent Spanish and English. His creative career has taken him via Icon Medialab, Addison and John Ryan Company.
At Saffron, Roberto has 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.
He’s a Star Wars addict and a Lego fan and happiest when the two come together.
Craig is Design Director in London overseeing our design team there and connecting creatives across other Saffron locations.
Born in the North West of the UK, Craig has worked for a number of global brand consultancies from around the world including the likes of Landor and Interbrand. He’s 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, he’s been a key figure in building teams, attracting talent and the creation of a number of global projects from Europe, the Middle East and Russia working across Saffron’s locations overseeing the creative output.
Outside of the studio he’ll 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 joined us from Down Under in 2016 and has been enriching us with his unique perspective on Branding and Design since then. In his role as a Design Director he’s nurturing and managing the creative teams in London where he is responsible for the creative output. Beyond that, he’s also spearheading Saffron’s digital development on a global level.
Before joining Saffron, Drew worked at a number of industry leading agencies in Australia, including Interbrand, SouthSouthWest and Love + Money. His work covers the fields of branding, graphic and digital design having worked on a range of projects from reimagining national icons to creating disruptive e-commerce experiences.
At Saffron, Drew has 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.
Outside of the studio, your best bet finding Drew will be searching for London's best flat white. Or (like all other Australians in London) on the way to the airport on another weekend advernture somewhere in Europe.
Miren is a Strategy Director based in our Madrid office. She enjoys helping clients find the right balance between IQ and EQ, often overcoming their particular brand challenges using an approach unique to them.
Miren started her career in San Francisco as a strategist for a small digital agent before moving to Madrid where she joined DDB. She next moved into Nurun, an innovation consultancy, before finally joining Saffron.
At Saffron, she’s led projects for clients such as Santander, BBVA, Volotea and Sodexo. Miren has lectured at a number of schools and universities in Spain and Latin America – she’s something of the go-to person when an educational institution calls.
She has dreams of opening her own bakery and has a new-found interest in hand-lettering and calligraphy. An interesting combination!
Business Development Director
Pedro is a Business Development Director working out of our Madrid office. He looks for opportunities, creating points of view together with our strategy and design teams to engage with clients and build relationships that last.
Pedro 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, and speaking Spanish, English and French, Pedro is pretty internationally fluent.
He’s married without children (yet), has a dog called Groucho, runs marathons and loves bullfighting.
Managing Director, Brasil
PAULO AL ASSAL
Paulo manages Saffron’s Brazilian operation from São Paulo.
Before joining Saffron, Paulo co-founded and was CEO at BR Culture, a brand strategy and innovation consultancy and also at Voltage, an agency focused on business trends and insights.
He has Bachelor Degrees in Economics and Business from Colorado State University, an MBA from New York University Stern, a post-graduate degree in Innovation Management at Insper University in Brazil and a post graduate in Design Thinking and Innovation at Stanford University.
Paulo is a Professor at FGV University in Brazil where he teaches Branding and Innovation. He is also a former TEDx speaker and a keynote speaker in several innovation and branding events. He’s happiest when with his two daughters; windsurfing comes a close second.
Managing Director, Turkey
Since 2008, Turgay has guided Saffron into the Turkish, Russian, Caspian and Gulf regions where we now help both companies and countries.
Since graduating in Management at METU in Turkey, Turgay has built an impressive 20-year business career, working for multinational brands Unilever, Turkcell and Vodafone. He is also the founder of the Brand is You conferences, a writer for Brandmap Magazine and has lectured in branding at Georgia State University and BilgiMBA in Turkey.
At Saffron he has helped drive engagements with Made in Turkey, Turkcell, and Digiturk amongst others. His favourite catchphrase is ‘Today is the day’ – good advice if you ever heard it!
Business Development Director, India
Harshad heads Saffron’s operations in India and is responsible for its growth and client relationships in the region.
Before joining Saffron, Harshad held the Business Head position for an India based boutique brand consultancy, where he spearheaded the firm's New Business division and looked after its strategic interest across various business ventures.
Over the last 7 years, he has worked with blue-chip Indian clients like Diageo, Lodha Group, Tata Housing, IDFC Bank, Quikr and more. He’s addicted to coffee and co-founded a signature travel firm.
As an investor and entrepreneur he advices several startups in technology and retail space
Business Development Director, Germany
Regina joined Saffron in 2016. Her key function is to manage Saffron’s presence in Germany and to strengthen the agency cooperation with kleiner und bold in Berlin.
Regina qualified with a diploma of economics and communications from the university of arts Berlin and started her career working for Interbrand Zurich and at last for dan pearlman.
Founder & MD, Kleiner und Bold
Tammo is founder and managing director of kleiner and bold Berlin.
While studying Design in Bremen Tammo decided to found kleiner und bold - at that time an agency focussing on Corporate Design. After moving to Berlin in 2001 he transformed the company into the Branding and Innovation Agency it is today. He is a well known expert for Brand-/Digital Strategy, Process Design, Brand Building and Implementation and contributes not only to client projects but also to congresses and specialized press.
He has led numerous of projects from strategy to design to implementation for clients such as: DIN, Hochschule Bremen, Basler, SCHOTT, Q CELL, Juwi and Cabka.
Managing Director, Kleiner und Bold
Johannes is managing director of kleiner and bold responsible for brand strategy and driving our service innovation efforts.
Combining brand strategy and service design he counsels start-ups and established companies for more than 20 years. He studied economics in Hamburg and Georgetown Washington D.C. before he started his career in cultural management. Before kleiner und bold he built up the brand unit for Triad, a Berlin based agency for spacial communication. He takes on big challenges with the required amount of expertise and distinct empathy. With this attitude Johannes has helped companies such as Deutsche Telekom, DIN, DKSH, SCHOTT to build foundations for successful brands and branded services. Johannes is a founding member of the German Chapter of Service Design Network.