Havas Creative North America chairman and CEO Paul Marobella is leaving
Paul Marobella, chairman and CEO of Havas Creative North America, is leaving the agency.
Havas announced his departure in a statement today, saying Global Chief Client Officer Stephanie Nerlich will be taking on the additional role of executive managing partner of North America. She will be assuming oversight of the Havas Creative North America network agencies and continue to report to Havas Creative Global CEO Chris Hirst, according to the agency.
A Havas spokesperson said they will not be replacing Marobella, who declined to be interviewed. The agency also declined further comment on his exit.
In its statement, Havas said Marobella "will be leaving after eight years of dedicated service."
"This is a decision that we reached together and Paul will be with us for a few months to ensure a smooth transition," Havas said. "We thank Paul for his leadership of our U.S. business over the past three years, his long-standing presence in our Chicago agencies and his many positive impacts on our businesses. Specifically, Paul was instrumental in identifying many successful acquisitions that have become part of the Havas family, co-founding our Annex model and has great passion for integrating and supporting social causes as part of agency life. We thank Paul for his leadership and commitment to Havas and have every confidence that he will have much success in his next chapter."
Marobella was appointed CEO and Chairman of Havas Creative North America in 2017. He previously served five years as CEO of Havas Chicago and nearly three years as president of Havas Worldwide before that. Prior to joining Havas, he was the managing director of Wire Stone, part of consulting behemoth Accenture Interactive. Marobella is also an Effie Worldwide board member.
Under Marobella's leadership, Havas Chicago has been criticized for fostering a polarizing internal culture—Ad Age spoke to a dozen current and former employees on condition of anonymity in 2018 who described an environment where some thrive and others feel isolated outside an inner circle. Following the publication of that article, Jason Peterson, former chief creative officer for Havas North America, announced he would be leaving the agency.
Earlier in 2018, Peterson was criticized after posting a video, which also featured Marobella, in which he characterized shops like Leo Burnett, FCB and BBDO as "shitty agencies."
Marobella's departure comes after earlier this month, Havas Group laid off between 150 and 200 people across mainly its U.S. offices in Chicago, Boston and New York. The agency blamed the layoffs on client spending cuts due to the pandemic.
Nerlich joined Havas from MDC Partners in January. She was executive VP of MDC Partners, where Havas said she helped optimize the holding company's 28 agency brands including 72andSunny and Anomaly. Nerlich said she's "inspired by the opportunities ahead, as Havas Creative Group’s agencies are home to some of the most talented people in the industry."
“We believe that our organization is simply the sum of our people," Hirst said in a statement. "To be a leading creative company, we must have more than our fair share of top talent and a range of diverse skillsets and backgrounds. Stephanie fits that bill—she’s a proven leader who drives results and we are extremely lucky to have her on the team.”