Havas' Four New Group Chairmen Unite Media and Creative

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Yannick Bollore
Yannick Bollore Credit: Havas

Havas is bringing its creative and media divisions closer together with the creation of a group chairman role to oversee each of its four biggest markets.

The new group chairmen will be Andrew Benett (global CEO Havas Creative Group) in North America; Chris Hirst (European and U.K. Group CEO) in the U.K.; and Alfonso Rodés (Havas Media CEO) in Spain. Havas' group chairman and CEO, Yannick Bolloré, takes the role in France.

Mr. Bolloré said, "It's important not to create layers. Bringing the disciplines together is more efficient, more agile, faster, cheaper for clients, and gets better results. It's been a tremendous success from the client standpoint, and is a new way to manage careers for the talent in our agencies."

Each chairman will hold a monthly meeting with the CEOs of all the agencies in their country in an attempt to bring the disciplines more closely together by sharing financial and commercial developments.

Mr. Bolloré has been holding these meetings in France for a while, and has already set up the system in smaller territories such as the Nordics, the Middle East, and most of Spanish-speaking Latin America. The four new chairmen, however, account for 80% of Havas revenues between them.

The move is an evolution of the French communications group's "Together" strategy, which has seen Havas focus on the creation of "villages" housing all disciplines – creative, media, data, content, technology and design – with the aim of fostering collaboration between agencies.

A London village will bring together 18 U.K. agencies when it opens in early 2017, and by the end of the year there will be a total of 47, including a new one in Amsterdam.

The idea, Mr. Bolloré said, is to "transcend creative and media" because "there are so many opportunities and touchpoints that it's important to make them work together."

Havas' move is a different approach from French rival Publicis Groupe, whose "Power of One" strategy has been to put its networks together into three separate vertical groups, one each for creative, media and digital. On the creative agency side, Publicis Communications has been setting up a single P&L for individual countries.

WPP's focus has been on "horizontality," creating cross-discipline teams dedicated to specific clients including Procter & Gamble, Ford and Vodafone.

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