New Havas boss David Jones shows his hand with attempt to launch French agency BETC as global network

New Havas CEO David Jones is clearly aware that the network is rather short of global brands (Euro RSCG and Arnold in creative, Media Planning Group in media) so he has decided to launch French network agency BETC as a global ‘micro-network.’

First stop is London with the launch of BETC, headed by CEO Matthew Charlton, who was previously worldwide CEO of Modernista and executive creative director Neil Dawson, a creative director at DDB. The duo, who will both be minority shareholders in BETC London, worked together previously at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London.

A handful of others are expected to follow with Sao Paulo in Brazil next.

So far so good. But BETC Paris is part of Euro RSCG, in fact its flagship in Paris, with about 600 staff handling Havas network flagship accounts including Perrier, Evian, Peugeot and Reckitt Benckiser.

Founders Remi Babinet (pictured) and Mercedes Erra remain big noises in the network, Babinet sits on the Havas board. So is this just a bit of artful badge engineering?

Babinet says: “A year ago, when I knew I wanted to do this, [Havas chairman] Vincent Bollore was the first person I spoke to. He can see what we do in Paris and he is interested in the growth of the creative reputation of Havas. BETC will be a place to propose something different and creative and energetic. We can pitch for clients at a global level and this is very important for the growth of Havas.”

Havas CEO Jones says: “With BETC we are looking at an amazing creative pedigree. We want to be able to do what they have done in Paris in four of five other cities around the world. There is terrific talent in the industry – people who want to do entrepreneurial things – and this is a good opportunity for us to bring some of those people into the group. It will be a growth engine for Euro RSCG and for Havas overall.”

London duo Charlton (who worked at TBWA and BBH before going to the now defunct Modernista in the US) and respected creative Dawson who worked on Philips at DDB say the right things too.

But the key really is the independence of the BETC network, should it become one.

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