David Santos on …

Mining for talent worldwide

As global chief talent officer of Interbrand, David Santos is responsible for one of the international marketing and advertising firm’s most important assets: its people. Of Portuguese descent, Santos’s day-to-day duties include interacting with leaders of the organization from all over the world, traveling frequently, navigating local laws, and understanding all the intricate nuances of employment in other countries. His main focus is to identify top talent within the network and the industry, and ensure that the company—which currently boasts 34 offices in more than 20 countries—has broad opportunities for training and development, strong succession planning, and a deep-set belief in teamwork around the globe. Santos first got interested in HR while working part-time in a hotel as a Boston University student, and later received a master’s degree in psychology, arming him with a unique perspective.

Who is your greatest mentor and why? I find mentoring along the way from people at all stages of their careers with skills and experiences that I want to learn more about. Mentoring can come from anyone at anytime if you’re open to it.

Describe your role in five words or less:  It’s about the people

How many offices does Interbrand currently have & in how many countries? 34 offices, in 24 countries, and 1,300 employees

What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you? I love visiting Buddhist temples wherever I travel

Greatest accomplishment: 21-year relationship with my partner

What key characteristics do you look for when hiring new talent? Intelligence and curiosity

What’s it like to work on such an international scale? Traveling globally you see that each culture is still very important and unique, yet as people, we have so much in common

The best advice you ever received: Maintain balance and boundaries between your professional and personal lives

What is your favorite thing about being of Portuguese descent?  I visited Portugal once and I felt great pride coming from such a beautiful, peaceful place