NEWPORT — BACK STORY
Think of the current business landscape, and think of all the hype around entrepreneurs, startups, commitments to sustainability, driving innovation and embracing change. For Newport CEO Kevin McAuliffe, such concepts have long been part of his professional journey.
Founder of a consumer products and services company that likes thinking outside the box, working in Japan was never part of Kevin’s original game plan. But a trip to the country at age 19, during the summer of his university sophomore year, was life-changing.
Invited by his brother to visit, Kevin scored a month-long role chaperoning a group of international students across the Asian continent-from Japan to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Penang, New Delhi and Sri Lanka. The travel certainly made an impact.
“There was a whole new world out here; in my teens I’d been to Japan and basically all the way to India.” Newly determined to finish his university studies as soon as possible, and despite having no real interest in business at that time-“I was a child of the 60s from California and Arizona, the U.S… we were going to change the world through music and our beliefs and all of that stuff”-Kevin was soon back in Japan and working, for roughly six months.
Resuming a desire to travel, Kevin ended up mostly in Australia, with occasional ski trips to New Zealand. Hiking across the country and seeing remote areas of wilderness rekindled a long-standing interest in the environment.
Supporting himself through freelance and travel writing, he then ended up working in ad sales at Time Magazine in Hong Kong, before further stints in circulation at Time in South East Asia.
It seemed that Kevin had found his niche working in the media. “Fortune launched their international edition and I became the circulation director for Asia Pacific. I then went back to the U.S. and got an MBA thinking I would go on to another job at Time, but Reuters in Tokyo had a very interesting marketing job and feeling that the days of print were numbered, I wanted to move to digital media.”
Kevin embraced the opportunity. While the bulk of his job comprised of marketing news services, he was also exposed to new business development and launching products and services, although some of his ideas were ahead of their time and short-lived. “Back in 1990, a long time ago, we set up a real-time satellite feed [for companies to deliver earnings announcements] and then we would have a feedback line. We knew we’d have telephone feeds coming in so the analyst could call into the studio. We launched that service but [Reuters] didn’t stay with so it closed down.”
Undeterred, Kevin soon had a chance to flex his newfound interest in all things entrepreneurial. “This opportunity (Newport) came up through an old friend at the time, who was working with an American company that wanted to expand into Asia. He was looking for someone at a company in Japan that they could partner with. So I set the company–that is Newport–up.”
Now celebrating 25+ years of operations, Newport has allowed Kevin to create and grow a company that adheres to his values of environmental sustainability, respect, creative problem solving, credibility, adaptability, and speed. But he insists that Newport is a group effort and not a solo approach.
“I want people to come up with ideas on how we can change the world and change the company and change our clients for the better,” he smiles.