But this holiday season Mr. Saatchi, ousted under shareholder pressure from the Saatchi & Saatchi Co. holding company chairmanship and board Dec. 16, was engaged in very different negotiations about his own future (see story on Page 3).
No matter what Mr. Saatchi decides to do, it's certain he won't go away quietly. Nor will he pout or sulk about his lot.
"Maurice is the world's No. 1 optimist," said a London adman who has followed Mr. Saatchi's career.
In person, he is articulate and urbane. He charms clients as easily as he antagonizes shareholders.
Mr. Saatchi clearly did not realize, for example, that shareholder outrage at his promised $7.5 million in stock options would be exacerbated by Architectural Digest's glossy 11-page January spread on one of his four homes.
Given the chance to address a business audience at a PaineWebber conference in New York last month, he talked about art.
Mr. Saatchi and his brother Charles have usually been more a spirit than a physical presence at Saatchi, but instilled a killer instinct at the agency. In the early days, they broke a U.K. taboo by cold-calling on other agencies' clients.
In the U.K., Saatchi is a household name, partly due to high-profile election campaigns that have helped keep the Conservative Party in power since 1979. In fact, Mr. Saatchi has been rumored to be in line for a knighthood.
To bolster his holding company role, Mr. Saatchi attempted to become a more visible agency figure in the U.S. in the past year. He unexpectedly showed up at the American Association of Advertising Agencies' annual meeting, and appeared at a Bates Worldwide presentation to U.S. analysts. The day of the PaineWebber conference, he addressed Saatchi's New York staff for the first time ever.
His interests outside the ad industry include gardening and landscaping, and he is also an art museum trustee. Since 1984, the high-powered adman has been married to best-selling author Josephine Hart, whose novel "Damage" was recently made into a movie.
In the Architectural Digest story, Ms. Hart says the socialite pair's Old Hall estate in Sussex is "the perfect expression of his particular soul and psychology-the gentle persistence of the gardener and the commitment to the future."
For now the ad world is watching to see whether Mr. Saatchi can harvest a triumph in his immediate future.