Out of the halls of Oxford University and into the thrust of global business, United Kingdom-born Catherine Mackay has found a home in U.S. capitalism. She never set out to have a business career, but she found one as a fresh graduate, through a random job-application process.
"I had three options: running a Japanese art gallery, selling advertising space in an electronics magazine, or becoming an investment banker in London. I chose the bank," she recalled. "I never saw myself as a business person, but in retrospect, I think I made the right decision. I very much enjoy the meritocracy of being in capitalism. There's a sporting side of things that's fascinating."
After studying politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford, Mackay initially wanted to enter politics. She worked for a politician in the House of Commons upon graduation.
"Then I figured out that it was better to go into politics having already made money," she explained.
She joined FremantleMedia in 1994 and was recently promoted to regional CEO of the USA, Australasia, and Asia.
Her career brought her just over three years of living in Asia, in Hong Kong; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Delhi, India. She relocated to Los Angeles and then to New York about five years ago. An entrepreneurial globetrotter, she has settled with her French husband and new baby boy in New York.
"Before I had children, people used to tell me about how having children is the best thing in the world, and I would give them a blank stare and nod. But it is the best thing in the world. You have to actually experience it to know what it's all about," Mackay says. "Besides taking care of my child, probably the best thing I do in life is have a glass of wine with my husband."