Chris Hirst has been appointed global CEO for the Havas Creative global network, effective immediately. Havas also said agency BETC would serve as the linchpin for a new global creative network.
Most recently, Hirst was CEO, Havas Europe and CEO, Havas Group UK. In his expanded global role, he will lead the Havas Creative network and is tasked with further developing its agencies’ creative reputation and operations. The network has 8.500 staffers worldwide.
The appointment follows a year of turbulence within the Havas U.S creative operation, with reports of poor morale and staff unhappiness with some of the leadership.
In November, North America creative chief Jason Peterson and the agency mutually agreed to part ways, following reports of a chaotic environment at the agency’s Chicago office, where Peterson was based. Some staffers reportedly accused him of belittling and bullying them.
Havas indicated that Hirst will work with Peter Mears, CEO Havas Media Group, and Donna Murphy, CEO Havas Health & You, to continue building out Havas Group’s global Village model (where Havas-owned agencies share single campuses locally to foster efficiency and collaboration) and integration within parent company Vivendi.
The Bollore group owns nearly one-quarter of Vivendi and Havas Group CEO Yannick Bollore (son of Bollore Group CEO Vincent Bollore) is also chairman of the entertainment conglomerate.
Hirst also worked closely with BETC leaders Mercedes Erra and Remi Babinet to forge a blueprint for BETC’s expansion globally.
“Havas UK has become one of the most exciting and dynamic groups in the UK,” stated Yannick Bollore. “In 2018, Havas was among the top new business performers in the market. Chris is a transformative, world-class leader, who brings invaluable expertise that elevates our creative agencies and operations. His acumen will bring immense value to our clients and employees, not just in Europe but around the globe.”