School Reports 2016: Havas London

EDF Energy
EDF Energy

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."

Havas London
Type of agency Integrated
Company ownership Havas
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.