One of the things that probably conspired against Grey’s chances of becoming Agency of the Year (it was one of the runners-up to adam&eveDDB in our competition and has suffered the same frustrating fate in Campaign’s judgement) was the departure of CEO Chris Hirst to the top Euro job at Havas. This seemed odd as Grey seemed to be flying and Havas didn’t. But people like a challenge and money doubtless had something to do with it.
It’s been all change at Havas since Hirst arrived with the appointments of Ben Mooge and Andy Sandoz as ECDs, Mark Sinnock as European and UK CSO, Tracey Barber to UK CMO, Paul Ward as Group Head of Operations and Mark Whelan to CCO. Now Hirst has hired Nicola Forristal (left) from BBH as group head of people (not chief people officer strangely, given the other titles). Forristal has been at BBH for 12 years, latterly as director of human resources. She’s also a trained psychotherapist, which should come in handy.
Forristal says: “Chris’ transformation at Grey London was driven by creating the right environment for a diverse range of brilliant creative people to thrive and bring their ideas to life for clients. He has the same vision for Havas and it’s an incredibly exciting time to be joining the business.”
Hirst says: “The best creative businesses are built on a team-based, diverse, and open culture that is constantly evolving and trying new things. Our talent strategy is going to be central to our future success and Nicola will be key to that.”
Interestingly Forristal is one of a number of ranking BBH people to depart this year (Charlie Rudd to CEO of Ogilvy UK is probably the most notable). BBH, of course, is now owned by Publicis, where the financial screws have been tightened. Yesterday it emerged that highly rated Leo Burnett ECD Justin Tindall was on his way to M&C Saatchi (Burnett is also owned by Publicis). Coincidence? Maybe..