Staff Reporters
Nov 10, 2021

40 Under 40 2021: Rory Gallery, Special Group

Gallery has proven himself to be the complete modern chief strategy officer, not just by growing client businesses and driving outstanding creative work, but also by mentoring a powerhouse team and growing the agency’s profile and profitability.

40 Under 40 2021: Rory Gallery, Special Group
Proven performers with plentiful potential in the APAC marcomms industry

Rory Gallery

Chief strategy officer
Special Group
New Zealand

Originally from Ireland, Rory Gallery has worked at agencies around the globe, including in Dublin, Sydney and London. Notably, at AMV BBDO London, where he was a board member, Gallery won over 100 creative awards, including 10 Cannes Lions and two Gold IPA effectiveness awards for his work on the Guinness ‘Made of more’ campaign.

Today he leads the strategy department at Special New Zealand, and the awards and honours continue to follow him. Under his charge, Special Group has catapulted to New Zealand’s leading agency, recently being awarded Campaign’s Global Agency of the Year as well as being crowned Agency of the Year at the 2021 APAC Effies.

It’s been a busy 12 months for Special. In fact, it’s been the agency’s most profitable year ever. This is in no small part due to Gallery’s role in overseeing 15 new business wins,  including Kiwibank, Katmandu, Jaguar and Rockit Apples. This has resulted in a 48% increase in revenue, a 32% increase in profit and a 51% increase in staff.

As a leader, Gallery puts a major emphasis on creative effectiveness. He is as driven to win awards as anyone in the creative department and isn’t afraid to push for better work. He has collaborated with the leadership team to define Special’s philosophy and developed a set of strategic tools through a book he wrote that enables his department to be inspired by his leadership even when he isn’t there.

Passionate about helping others, Gallery volunteers as an advisor to the Kindness Institute, a charitable entity that seeks to empower marginalised communities in New Zealand. Not only this, Gallery has been central to Special’s DEI initiatives. He is a key sponsor of Special Aotea—a culturally led strategic and business group within Special that is designed to authentically represent Te Ao Māori (indigenous people and culture) in the work the agency does for its clients.

Proven performers with plentiful potential in the APAC marcomms industry


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