Havas New York hires Dan Lucey as chief creative officer
Havas New York poached Dan Lucey, executive creative director of independent agency Joan, as chief creative officer. He replaces Harry Bernstein, who left the agency in October.
“This has been a very extensive search over many months,” Havas New York CEO Laura Maness says. “We looked at a range of candidates, diverse candidates, and could not be more thrilled with Dan. He was absolutely the right person for this role.”
Lucey joined Joan in 2018 from BBDO, where he was an executive creative director and lead on accounts including Foot Locker, Bud Light, Priceline.com and Guinness. Before BBDO, he held stints at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and Saatchi & Saatchi, among other shops.
He also was a driving force behind Ad Age’s naming of Joan as a Small Agency of the Year in 2020, having led eye-popping creative for clients including General Mills, Fiber One, Facebook, Walmart, Virgin Hotels and SafeAuto—including a refreshingly honest campaign for FiberOne Brownies celebrating women’s right to plastic surgery that featured “Real Housewives” stars and over-exaggerated imagery like blown-up lips.
“Havas is a company with tremendous soul,” Lucey says. “As I talked to Laura [Maness] and her team, I really realized they have strong values that align with mine. They are focused on increasing diversity in our industry, which is something really near and dear to my heart. I also love that Havas is owned by Vivendi, giving access to some of the best entertainment talent in the world. In a time when we’re trying to tap into culture and not just make ads, but things people want to engage with, there’s no better partner to have than Universal Music Group.”
Havas Group—owned by French media conglomerate Vivendi, which is also parent to Universal Music Group—has been undergoing considerable change as it repositions its leadership ranks. In July, the company announced Havas Creative North American Chairman-CEO Paul Marobella would be exiting and his role eliminated, shifting more leadership responsibilities to a regional level. Creative oversight had already been placed in the hands of regional offices after the 2018 departure of Jason Peterson, former Havas North America co-chairman and chief creative officer.
As such, Maness says Lucey assumes responsibility of “the flagship creative agency for North America” as New York chief creative officer. “We’ve been on this journey for a few years now with this new lens,” Maness adds.
Lucey’s predecessor, former Havas New York Chief Creative Officer Harry Bernstein, left in October, with the agency telling Adweek that the two had reached a “mutual agreement” to part ways.
A goal of improving diversity
In the new role, Lucey says one of his main focuses will be to improve diversity. Havas Group released the diversity makeup of its U.S. staff in July, showing only 2.7% of its executives and directors are Black, while 8.2% are Hispanic or Latinx, 9.7% are Asian and the majority, nearly 76%, are white. A month later, the holding company appointed a North American diversity, equity and inclusion advisory committee that includes executives from across its agencies including Havas New York, Arnold, Havas Canada, Havas Health & You and Havas Chicago.
“We have to make sure we have diverse voices within the organization first, so you have as many points of view on the work as possible,” Lucey says.
For the most part, Havas’ employees continue to work from home with offices open, according to state guidelines, only for certain people who feel the need to go in. “The good thing is, we’ve been in this pandemic so long it just feels normal now,” Lucey says, discussing the art of taking up a new role while working remotely.
According to Maness, Havas New York has not lost a single client in the pandemic and recently picked up several new agency-of-record contracts that she declined to identify. Still, Havas Group in July laid off between 150 and 200 people across mainly its U.S. offices including Chicago, New York and Boston, blaming client spending cuts.