Interview with Peter DeBenedictis

Our new Dubai Board member

Peter leads the marketing function for Microsoft in the Middle East and Africa region, a role he assumed in March 2017. His team takes an integrated marketing and communications approach, using digital marketing and traditional channels to both build the Microsoft brand and also engage customers and partners on their purchase journey.

Peter has lived and worked in the Middle East region for over 30 years and has deep experience of growing business in diverse Emerging Markets. Prior to joining Microsoft, he has had a distinguished career leading the marketing function in several of the world’s leading brands, including General Electric, Philips, and FedEx, where he has led multiple growth and investment programs to drive top line growth. Peter has recently joined The Marketing Society Dubai board, so we tracked him down for a quick interview:

What’s your golden rule?

Teamwork first. No drama. Focus on doing great work. No time for personality conflicts or He Said/She Said. Win and Die as a team.

Who has been your biggest influence?

I have had 2-3 great mentors over the years who have really helped guide my career. In some ways, everyone needs that in their career, someone senior who looks out for you and helps to accelerate your development. I have been blessed with some great mentors.

What is your most hated business expression? 

‘Let’s take that offline’

How can marketers be braver?

Bravery can mean many different things, depending on your point of view. For me, bravery means taking a chance on a new idea, being willing to try and fail, hiring people who are unconventional for a role, or being willing to admit you were wrong or that someone else knows more than you.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?

Taking my first marketing manager role, when I really had very little professional training or experience in marketing. I dove into the deep end and 20 years later am still here, so something has stuck! 

Which leader do you admire most and why?

Joe Torre is someone I have admired. He was the manager for the New York Yankees from 1996 to 2007, when they won the American baseball championship 4 times. The reason I admire Joe is:

  • He had a mediocre manager before he took over the Yankees in one of the most high profile jobs in sports
  • He worked for a boss, George Steinbrenner, who was notorious for firing managers once, sometimes twice a year. A tough boss!
  • His approach to dealing with the press, the constellation of multi-millionaire star players, the tough NY fans, was to always be the calm in the storm. The one place you could go to for clarity. And as such, when he did speak, people listened.
  • And in spite of all of the above, he was one of the most successful Yankees managers of the last 45 years

What’s your favourite word?


Tell us a secret?

I am American, born in the USA, but have lived more time outside America than in it. 

Connect with Peter on LinkedIn


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