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AMV BBDO hires Havas’ Xavier Rees as latest leader

AMV BBDO has lured Xavier Rees, CEO of Havas UK, to be its new group CEO overseeing the main agency and Redwood BBDO. Rees replaces Sam Hawkey who exited for Publicis Groupe’s Digitas before Christmas.

Rees (above) says: “I’ve had an incredible 7 years at Havas but, the lure of AMV, Redwood and BBDO was just too great. BBDO is a business that truly understands the power of creativity to drive growth and change. I can’t wait to roll my sleeves up with such a talented bunch of people, and help shape a compelling new chapter for BBDO and its enviable roster of clients.”

AMV may be all these things but it’s had a torrid time in the leadership stakes since Cilla Snowball stepped down in 2018 after 26 years at the agency. For most of this time it was by far the Uk’s biggest creative agency but has since been overtaken by Omnicom sibling adam&eveDDB, Saatchi & Saatchi, VCCP and McCann.

Rees’ departure is a blow for Havas which is expected to be spun off as a separate quoted company from Vivendi some time this year. Rees is a former group MD of Omnicom’s adam&eveDDB.

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