Stuart Lunn has been appointed managing director of Havas Media Manchester as part of what the company called "a broader growth strategy for the regional hub".
Lunn brings client experience, including as vice-president for strategic projects at Manchester Airports Group, where he brought some of the company's digital marketing services in-house.
He has also had spells at Google, Facebook, OMD, Carat and most recently as marketing director at Wienerberger, a building materials group.
In the newly created role at Havas, Lunn is "tasked with leading and growing Havas Media’s business in key areas outside of London and ensuring it remains competitive".
He arrives as the BBC, one of Havas Group Media’s most prestigious clients in Manchester, has kicked off a media review.
Matt Adams, chief executive of Havas Group Media UK and Ireland, said: "Stu is a fantastic hire for us. He has an impressive depth and breadth of experience, working in agencies, media owners and as a client, and he’s massively well-connected."
Adams added that Lunn's appointment is part of an effort to "increase our investment in Manchester" and "strengthen our regional offering".
Lunn said: "Havas Media is focused on evolving as part of an ever-changing market. Matt’s vision for that resonated with me, as someone who’s worked across the value and supply chain and seen the need to disrupt and transform first hand.
"I believe we have a clear, compelling positioning to work to and I am excited to start speaking to clients about that proposition. Excellence in client servicing will be at the heart of everything we do."
Havas Media Manchester has about 30 staff. Havas also operates a large healthcare communications business, Havas Lynx Group, in the city but has little other advertising operations there at present.
Other agency groups have identified Manchester as a growth market. London-based The & Partnership has just opened a 35-strong Manchester office and WPP has announced plans for a new campus for 800 staff by 2022.
Stephanie Marks, managing director of Havas Media UK in London, previously oversaw Havas' media operation in Manchester.
Mark Varley departed as managing partner and head of Havas Media Manchester last year. He recently joined The & Partnership Manchester as media lead.