Havas Restructures in London to Boost Digital Offering

Partnership With Work Club Seeks to Improve 'Shocking' New Business Record

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Andrew Benett, Daniel Floyed, Kate Robertson, Martin Brooks
Andrew Benett, Daniel Floyed, Kate Robertson, Martin Brooks
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Havas Worldwide London has created a formal partnership with Work Club, the digital hotshop it acquired in May 2014, and quickly installed new leadership, in a bid to boost both digital capabilities and a poor new business record.

Russ Lidstone, the CEO of Havas Worldwide London, has left the agency and been replaced by two co-managing partners, Daniel Floyed and Martin Brooks. Mr. Floyed has been promoted from global brand director at the agency, and Mr. Brooks, a founder of Work Club, will retain his title there as joint-CEO.

Kate Robertson, chairman of Havas Worldwide U.K. and co-global president of Havas Worldwide, said, "We have tried to build digital services of scale inside the agency, but when we won Chivas and Credit Suisse digital accounts globally, we couldn't deliver. Work Club can do some things Havas Worldwide London can't, and vice versa. The need to work together is pressing. The times demand it."

Havas Worldwide London and Work Club (now called Havas Work Club) are already working together on a range of Havas accounts, in particular Pernod Ricard, Reckitt Benckiser and European frozen food business Iglo. The two agencies are inconveniently located in different parts of London, and that will continue until 2017, when all Havas' London agencies will be brought together under one roof in Kings Cross.

In the meantime, Havas' plan is to build joint "client-centric" teams, called "Clubs," in order to provide a more integrated offering. Some of these teams may be located in a single office to make co-operation easier.

Ms. Robertson said, "Our new business record has been shocking. Really poor. The rest of the U.K. group has got it right, but we have not been fast enough at Havas Worldwide London. Everything is riding on having the digital skills we need. The talent at Work Club is staggering."

Daniel Floyed's promotion came as something of a surprise -- he has recently been working as global brand director on wine and spirits maker Pernod Ricard. Running the account of a French company for a French communications group may have gotten Mr. Floyed noticed by Havas chairman and CEO, Yannick Bolloré.

Ms. Robertson said, "Daniel has collaborated well across the group – something that is never easy, but he does it naturally. Since July he's also been working with me on Reckitt Benckiser, and he's been working with [Work Club's] Martin [Brooks] for the last six months. I've been watching them closely because you can't put people together who don't want to work together, and I've seen them genuinely sharing business and making it look easy."

Work Club's partners, Mr. Brooks, Chairman Jon Claydon, creatives Andy Sandoz and Ben Mooge, and strategists Paddy Griffith and Lisa De Bonis, have a six-year earn-out that began in January 2014.