All eyes have been on Havas London's new Europe chief executive, Christ Hirst, since he joined in September. The Havas boss, Yannick Bolloré, had cranked up the expectations by calling Hirst a "UK star" prior to his arrival.
But Hirst was only one of numerous leadership changes at the agency in 2015. In particular, Mark Fairbanks was ousted and Work Club’s Andy Sandoz and Ben Mooge became the joint executive creative directors – a move that had many tongues wagging given the pair’s digital agency backgrounds.
Other changes included the departure of Kate Robertson, the UK group chairman and global co-president, after 12 years and the appointment of M&C Saatchi’s Mark Sinnock as the European and UK chief strategy officer.
Integrating Work Club (which was purchased in 2014) is likely to spice up the agency’s output, as will its new creative council, led by Mark Whelan, the Havas Worldwide global creative director. Its best output in 2015 was a campaign for EDF Energy, challenging perceptions that prevent girls wanting to take up science, technology, engineering and maths careers.
Havas added 13 clients, including Arla Foods’ developing markets brief, British Gas, Huawei and Sharp. But it lost accounts including Air France, Nurofen and PayPal.
A new-business drive in 2016 will be necessary to acquire the sexy clients that Sandoz, Mooge et al need. A lot will rest on Hirst, so it’s down to him to prove he can shine as bright as Bolloré believes he can.
How the agency rates itself: 6
"The start of something new. In 2015, we got a new chief executive, new joint executive creative directors, a new chief strategy officer, a new chief marketing officer and a new gang as Work Club and Havas Worldwide came together. We forged a new frontier of whisky drinking with Ballantine’s, funded a new generation of social entrepreneurs with Chivas and saw almost 40 million new views for Durex. Havas London. All together now."
|Type of agency||Integrated|
|Nielsen billings 2015||£156m|
|Nielsen billings 2014||£163m|
|Declared income||£25.4m (2014)|
|Total accounts at year end||29|
|Accounts won||13 (biggest: Arla Foods)|
|Accounts lost||14 (biggest: PayPal)|
|Number of staff||185 (-19%)|
|Women in senior management||11%|
|BAME staff in senior management||0%|
|Key personnel||Chris Hirst, Europe group chief executive
Mark Sinnock, chief strategy officer
Andy Sandoz, joint executive creative director
Ben Mooge, joint executive creative director
Tracey Barber, group chief marketing officer
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.