Nikita Mishra
Aug 30, 2023

Havas names new chief executives for Japan and Thailand

EXCLUSIVE: Havas strengthens Asia leadership with the appointment of new CEOs in Japan and Thailand markets, effective immediately.

(L) Aga Giedroyc, (R) Darrell Nelson, Havas
(L) Aga Giedroyc, (R) Darrell Nelson, Havas

After posting robust second-quarter results with organic growth in net revenues accelerating to 6.3% from 1.9% in the first three months of the year, French holding group, Havas is shaking up the market leadership in Asia. After the announcement of Nizwani Shahar as Havas Malaysia CEO yesterday, two key markets, Thailand and Japan have new chief executives.

Effective immediately, Darrell Nelson, vice president, Havas Japan and the global head of culture and content has been promoted to the role of CEO Havas Japan. Also, Singapore-based Aga Giedroyc, EVP, corporate development Havas Group Southeast Asia and North Asia will assume the chief executive position of Havas Thailand. She takes over the duties from outgoing Santiphong Pimolsaengsuriya as he transitions from the agency.  

As a region, Asia is significant to Havas. In an exclusive interview with Campaign, global CEO and chairman Yannick Bolloré spoke about the importance of the Asia Pacific where business was stronger (7.6%), than North America (5.5%) or Europe (3.4%). “Clearly, the 21st century will be the century of Asia. It’s the fastest-changing region, that’s why we are investing so much over here,” Bolloré said.

However, the French group has not reinstated a regional leadership after the 2019 restructuring which simplified the APAC management reporting lines in media and creative. Both the newly appointed CEOs Nelson (Japan) and Giedroyc (Thailand) will report to Alberto Canteli, the Nordics, CEE and Middle East, SEA, Korea and Japan CEO and chair at Havas

In the new role, Nelson will continue to serve as APAC head of cultural strategy and manage additional duties of driving new business for growth and local client strategies leveraging Havas' integrated capabilities. Prior to his cross-regional experience with Havas, the agency he joined in 2016, Nelson had a long stint at AKQA Tokyo in various roles, prominent being the digital lead and digital director on the Nike account. In the new role, he will continue to be based in Japan.

Aga Giedroyc, in tandem with her pivotal role as EVP of corporate development for SEA, Japan, and Korea, will lead Havas Thailand's business operations and be responsible for the agency's growth in the market. Giedroyc has held pivotal roles, including that as chief investment officer for APAC and managing partner at Havas Media Hong Kong, she has been instrumental in catalysing the agency's transformation and spearheading digital capabilities across the network. She will move to Thailand for the new role.

On the new leadership structure, Alberto Canteli, CEO and chairman Havas, Nordics, CEE and Middle East, SEA, Korea and Japan, said: "The new leadership structure aims to accelerate the development of the collaborative Village model and strengthen our position in the crucial Southeast Asian and North Asian markets."

He added: "Darrell has consistently demonstrated his commercial acumen and ability to grow our business in Japan. Aga's proven ability to build and enhance capabilities in the region will augment our value proposition in Thailand and reinforce our commitment to creative excellence and smart media accountability for growth and momentum.”

Nelson added, "I am thrilled to take on the leadership role and contribute to Havas’ ongoing expansion in Japan. I feel incredibly fortunate to already have an amazing and diverse team in place, dedicated to driving impactful and creative work for a great roster of clients here in Japan."

Meanwhile, Aga Giedroyc added, "To Havas, Thailand represents more than just a market; it's a dynamic canvas brimming with creativity and potential. I am genuinely inspired by the Thai spirit of ingenuity and innovation.

"The Village approach, built on fostering collaboration and seamless integration goes beyond a mere business strategy; it resonates deeply with our clients’ genuine needs. I am eagerly anticipating this journey, where I'll work alongside a remarkable team to infuse Thailand’s unique creativity into Havas' ethos, ensuring we continue to shape meaningful brands that truly matter through a synergy of creativity, media, and entertainment."

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