There’s a notable exodus at Vivendi-owned Havas following the exit of Havas Creative CEO Chris Hirst. New York CEO Laura Maness (below) is on her way as is Havas North America and Arnold chief talent officer Julianna Akuamoah and Havas New York chief of social impact and PR Lindsay Stein.
Havas is combining its creative and health operations under long-time health CEO Donna Murphy. Of New York boss Maness Havas says: “Laura is moving on from Havas NY to pursue new opportunities. We thank Laura for her hard work and commitment and wish her the absolute best in her future endeavors.” As you do.
Vivendi, awash with cash after floating Universal Music, is controlled by the Bolloré clan, headed by paterfamilias Vincent. Son Yanick runs Havas. On the face of it Hirst’s exit looks odd although it’s worth noting that he was global CEO of creative, not the whole shebang. And creative these days is playing less of a role in the big holding companies however hard they may pretend otherwise.
The US is now French-based Havas’ biggest market, as it is for French rival Publicis and health seems to be where the money is: smaller in turns of turnover but the US health market, bedevilled though it may be by accusations of dodgy marketing and worse, is highly profitable.
All the big holding companies have restructured their creative operations to a degree – WPP has merged agencies, Publicis’ Power of One now boasts Le Truc in New York which encompasses some of the best talents of its creative agencies. Omnicom is more or less as was but media executives are moving up the ranks there, where once the creative network bosses called the shots under CEO John Wren.
Vincent Bolloré, whose business interests span far more than Vivendi, is not noted for sentimentality. A radically slimmed down Havas may be on the cards and others will surely follow.