Havas performs strongly as David Jones takes the reins as CEO

French-owned marcoms company Havas, now headed by new CEO David Jones, has posted decent first quarter figures with revenue up 9.7 per cent from €329m to €361m and claimed organic growth of 6.8 per cent.

The comparative growth rates for its bigger French rival Publicis Groupe are 10.7 per cent and 6.5 per cent organic growth.

Havas owns Euro RSCG, Arnold and media buyers MPG and Arena. Jones, who remains head of Euro RSCG, took over as CEO from Fernando Rodes Vila last month.

Growth was particularly strong in emerging markets at 19.5 per cent among which Asia Pacific grew 10.3 per cent. North America was up 7.2 per cent, boosted by Arnold’s Dell account won from WPP, while Europe lagged the field on 3.8 per cent. The UK grew by just 2.4 per cent.

New business in the period amounted to €384m, led by Dell and Pfizer. Euro RSCG also gained the Durex account from biggest client Reckitt Benckiser.

New CEO Jones said: “We are seeing at the moment an upturn right across all our communication businesses and in media, which performed particularly well over the first three months of the year.”

Jones’ job now is to try to narrow the gap with his much larger rivals WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe and Interpublic.

Chairman Vincent Bollore, who remains the company’s biggest shareholder, recently said that he had abandoned his plans to buy media agency Aegis, in which he is also the biggest individual shareholder.

This will free up around €750m for the ambitious Jones to make acquisitions.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.