Sam Hawkey, chief operating officer at Saatchi & Saatchi London, has become the agency’s chief executive.
He takes over from Magnus Djaba, who has been CEO of the London office for eight years. Djaba continues in his role as global president and CEO of the creative practice for Publicis Groupe UK.
Hawkey’s appointment coincides with the reopening of Publicis Groupe’s Chancery Lane office today (1 July) after temporarily closing in March because of the coronavirus lockdown.
Saatchi & Saatchi said the decision to promote Hawkey was made before the pandemic.
Hawkey joined Saatchi & Saatchi eight years ago as an account manager, rising up the ranks to become managing director in 2017 and chief operating officer in 2018. He has worked on the BT/EE, Betway, Guinness and Visa accounts during his time at the agency.
Before Saatchi & Saatchi, Hawkey worked at Glue Isobar (now known as Isobar) for two years.
He continues to report to Djaba, who said: "In two months, this iconic agency celebrates its 50th birthday. We wanted to continue the legacy of Saatchi & Saatchi and our ‘Nothing is impossible’ mantra, and make sure we have the same breed of entrepreneurial audacious leadership now as we did 50 years ago.
"When I became CEO eight years ago, Sam was my first hire. There are two things that have remained constants during my time as CEO – one is the agency mantra that ‘Nothing is impossible’ and the other is my belief that Sam was born to lead this agency.
"The industry needs creative entrepreneurs now more than ever – and Sam is one of them."
Hawkey will continue to work alongside the rest of the Saatchi & Saatchi leadership team: Richard Huntington, chairman and chief strategy officer; Guillermo Vega, chief creative officer; and Sarah Jenkins, managing director.
Like all of the global agency groups, Publicis Groupe has cut costs and reduced salaries for higher earners because of the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak.