School Reports 2014: Havas Worldwide London


Score: 5  Last year: 7

You can’t help mixing sympathy with admiration for Havas Worldwide London, which manages to deliver gravity-defying performances while having to cope with so much uncertainty at the top of the holding group. How will the group fare with the charismatic David Jones no longer in command? Will it even remain a separate entity or will it be merged into Vivendi by Vincent Bolloré, its majority shareholder? Will Dentsu come calling, cheque in hand?

If all that didn’t make it hard enough for Russ Lidstone, the Havas Worldwide London chief executive, to keep his eye on the ball, he also had to spend a large chunk of last year looking to fill a vacant executive creative director’s seat.

At the year’s end, the management front line had a significant new look to it. And not just with the arrival of Mark Fairbanks from Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO to take over creative command from Mick Mahoney.

Along with him came Emily Somers, Leo Burnett’s head of account management, to become the agency’s first managing director, working alongside Anthony Edwards, promoted earlier in the year to fill the newly created role of strategy director.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, new-business wins were modest but brought in a couple of well-known names, notably Mothercare and Iglo Group. Out of the back door went the perpetually problematic Thomas Cook, which took its business in-house, and Santander, which consolidated its £27 million UK account into WCRS without a pitch. Not good news for Havas, but it may be a relief for anybody unable to take much more of the ads featuring Jessica Ennis-Hill, Jenson Button and Rory McIlroy behaving like stalkers. The agency’s Evian work was rather less offensive.

That said, Havas Worldwide London was one of only three UK shops to strike gold at Cannes last year for its Credit Suisse "Metamorphosis" ad. What a welcome distraction that must have been.

How Havas Worldwide London rates itself: 7

Havas Worldwide London's year in a Tweet: Influx of new talent and clients. Departures prompted arrivals. Cannes was golden. Our pace never dropped. Plus UK Media Employer of Year

Havas Worldwide London
Type of agency Integrated advertising and PR
Company ownership Havas
Key personnel Russ Lidstone chief executive
Mark Fairbanks executive creative director
Anthony Edwards strategy director
Emily Somers managing director (advertising)
Steve Marinker managing director (PR)
Nielsen billings 2013 £145m
Nielsen billings 2012 £176m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 26
Accounts won 3 (biggest: Iglo Group)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Santander)
Number of staff 259 (+1%)

Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.