Alarms ring at Volkswagen agency DDB Germany as top duo defect to Havas

Havas is showing decided signs of ambition under Bollore family rule and the French-based network has just raided DDB Germany for two heavyweight hires: Thomas Funk, formerly CEO of DDB Group Germany, to be its new managing director Europe and DDB Germany’s CCO Eric Schoeffler as its new European ECD. Chris Hirst, who joined recently from Grey London, is European CEO of Havas Worldwide.

During their time at DDB Germany, Funk (below left) and Schoeffler managed the merger with its digital sister agency Tribal. The pair have worked for a number of multinational clients including Volkswagen, Deutsche Telekom, Sony, Henkel and eBay.

Hirst says: “I’m thrilled to have Thomas and Eric join our team. Under their leadership DDB Group Germany was transformed into an integrated agency with a strong creative reputation. Their vision and collaborative spirit will be integral to our continued success.”

Funk says: “Havas is giving us the freedom to create something new. This move is about finding innovative solutions beyond the traditional agency model. It’s very exciting.”

Havas Worldwide global CEO Andrew Benett says: “With Chris at the helm, we’ve been building incredible momentum in Europe. These recent appointments are yet another pivotal step toward optimizing the agency’s structure to further elevate our creative teams, strengthen our offering and accelerate growth across the region.”

They certainly are heavyweights and their switch to Havas will ring alarm bells at DDB and parent Omnicom. DDB Germany is the driving force on the huge European VW account, which won’t have escaped Bollore attention. VW doesn’t have a global creative agency holding company deal in place (it uses Interpublic’s Deutsch LA in the the US) so the new team at Havas will be on the case, as soon as contracts permit.

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