NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Havas Worldwide is hiring Mauricio Galvan, one of the U.S. Hispanic market's leading creative directors, and Lapiz senior executive Leo Olper to build a new Hispanic offering for Havas agencies, incorporating a former Euro RSCG Latino unit that only has a few staffers left. The move is the latest example of a growing effort by general-market agencies to bolster their Hispanic capabilities and persuade clients to assign Latino business to them.
Mr. Galvan has been at independent Hispanic agency Vidal Partnership, New York, where he was managing partner, executive creative director, for nine years. Mr. Olper was, until last week, senior VP-chief operating officer at Chicago-based Lapiz, Leo Burnett's wholly-owned U.S. Hispanic agency. Mr. Olper starts immediately as CEO of the new Havas agency, and Mr. Galvan will join him as chief creative officer in the next few weeks.
The new, still unnamed Hispanic offering will work initially for clients of Havas agencies including Euro RSCG Worldwide and Arnold, and will report to Ron Bess, president and COO of Euro RSCG North America, Mr. Galvan said.
At Vidal, Paco Olavarrieta, the agency's original chief creative, returned this week as acting chief creative director. Supporting Mr. Olavarrieta in his new role will be Vidal creative directors Thomas Schimoler, Javier Fuentes and Marcelino Sellas.
"We wish Mauricio much success in his new endeavor and thank him for his creative leadership and friendship over the last nine years," said President-CEO Manny Vidal.
This will be Havas's third shot at a U.S. Hispanic agency. The first Euro RSCG Latino shop was launched in 2003, and run by Douglas Patricio, whose territory also included Puerto Rico and Mexico, in an effort to find synergies among the three Spanish-speaking markets. Euro RSCG Latino re-launched in 2007 under Gustavo Razzetti, a former CEO of Euro RSCG in Argentina and later in Puerto Rico. He stayed for two years, then left to become president of GlobalHue Latino in May 2009. Mr. Razzetti wasn't replaced, and the agency has continued to shrink.
Euro RSCG Latino posted a major drop in 2009 revenue, following a 23.2% decline in 2008, according to Ad Age's ranking of U.S. Hispanic ad agencies. The agency also reported a reduction in staff, from 25 at the end of 2008 to 15 at the end of 2009, and that number has fallen further this year.
Mr. Galvan and Mr. Olper are essentially setting up a new Hispanic shop within Havas. The two men first met and worked together at Leo Burnett in Mexico, their native country. Mr. Olper was there between 1992 and 2000, when he joined Lapiz as an account director. Mr. Galvan has done award-winning work at Vidal for Heineken USA, Sprint, JCPenney and other clients.
As general-market agencies become more aggressive about pursuing Hispanic business, the industry was shocked last month when Home Depot moved its $37 million Hispanic account after a review from incumbent Vidal to Richards/Lerma, a little-known Hispanic capability set up by Home Depot's general-market agency Richards Group.