“Pungent;” “pithy;” “irreverent;” “hard-hitting;” “hilarious;” “succinct;” “wittily subversive;” “entertaining;” “compulsive reading.” These are some of the epithets used to describe An Accidental Manager – Tales From the Corporate Jungle, Roger Collis’ new book, distilled from decades of experience as an international marketing executive and as a renowned newspaper and magazine columnist fighting the corner of road-warriors across the world.
The author brilliantly captures the absurdities, pretensions and jargon of the business jungle, and will quickly have you chuckling at the way he unfailingly spots the bogus and the modish. The reader will enjoy meeting the cast of characters who come to life in many of the stories: the Chairman; the devious Welshman; Guratsky, the author’s putative alta ego; his secretary, the bitch-goddess Helen; Mel Geist; Sammy Kalbfleish; and Stanley Zilch, the crazed soothsayer of the Blue Skies Research Institute in Broken Springs, Colorado. The witty, self-deprecating tales of the author’s travails of daily life in the South of France are a delight to read.
Roger Collis has earned world-wide recognition as a business travel guru through his weekly column, “The Frequent Traveler,” every Friday for 23 years (1985 – 2009) in the International Herald Tribune; and as a contributing travel columnist for the New York Times. He has been described as the dean of business-travel journalists in Europe, who “created the template for business-travel columns in newspapers worldwide.” He writes a bi-monthly column for CNN Traveller magazine, and contributes each month to OAG’s Eye on the Skies newsletter.
A veteran corporate infighter, with 15 years’ experience in international consumer marketing, Roger was educated at Liverpool University in England; he is a member of the International Alumni Association of IMD Business School in Lausanne, and is the author of Harvard Business School teaching case studies. He served as a commissioned officer in the army during his military service.
In the 1960s, Roger was a star copywriter with Colman, Prentis & Varley – the largest British international advertising agency at the time. He later became European marketing director and managing director of the Europe headquarters in Lausanne of the U.S. multinational Miles Laboratories, with whom he stayed 11 years; then spent four years as group vice president, responsible for marketing and new business development, with Cederroth, a Swedish-owned healthcare group based in Geneva. He was headhunted in 1980 for his last corporate job as marketing and sales director for Merck, Sharp & Dohme, the British subsidiary of Merck Inc., from where he commuted weekly to his home in Antibes on the French Riviera. He subsequently spent as a year as associate editor with International Management magazine, published by McGraw-Hill, before becoming a full-time writer and occasional consultant based in the South of France.
The second edition of Roger’s bestselling book, The Survivor’s Guide to Business Travel, was described by the London Times as “the best source of independent travel advice on the market.” He is also the author of If My Boss Calls, Make Sure you Get His Name, a collection of columns satirizing the corporate life, published in 1984. He won a special award in the Carlson Wagonlit 2004 press awards for the Business Travel industry.
Roger describes himself as a “professional expatriate,” having lived most of his life in Switzerland and France. He is very comfortable in a French-speaking environment.