Havas has named Chris Hirst as head of its international creative network, working alongside Havas Media Group CEO Peter Mears and Havas Health & You boss Donna Murphy. Hirst was Havas’ EMEA boss and before that head of WPP’s Grey EMEA during a high point for the agency.
It’s also announced plan to turn its market-leading French agency BETC into a global network. BETC currently has an outpost in London. Hirst will be based on Havas’ London “village” in King’s Cross, next door to owner Vivendi’s Universal Music.
Hirst (below) says: “This is a fantastic time to be at Havas, and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to work with the teams around the world during such a defining stage of our development. Peter, Donna, and I will work closely to integrate our Havas Village model even further and deliver on our unique position in the market: being the most meaningful company for our clients and for our people.”
Havas chairman and CEO Yannick Bolloré says: “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.”
BETC’s plans are interesting: it’s one of the relatively few world class big creative agencies alongside the likes of Wieden+Kennedy and adam&eveDDB. Its London office prospered briefly under Matt Charlton and Neil Dawson winning accounts including Diet Coke and Bacardi. But the two fell out spectacularly, with both leaving.
BETC in Paris is an empire of its own (albeit owned by Havas/Vivendi) under co-founder Remi Babinet. It occupies vast premises at Les Magasins Généraux in an inner suburb of Paris (below). Its many award-winning clients include Canal+ (also owned by Vivendi), Evian and Air France.