The new unit will be led by director VJ Yamat, who joins from McCann in the Philippines, where he was the managing director of McCann Healthcare and vice-president of McCann Worldgroup.
He previously held senior roles in several healthcare marketing agencies, including Ogilvy Health Singapore and Publicis Healthcare Communications Group Greater China, and worked on the Nestlé infant nutrition portfolio and on Unilab, MSD and Abbott accounts.
Based in Singapore, his role is effective immediately and he will report to Naomi Troni, CEO at Havas Worldwide Southeast Asia.
Troni, who started her role in November, noted that the opportunity for health marketing in Asia is massive and rapidly growing.
“While we’ve long worked in this space in the sub-region, bringing VJ onboard to officially launch Havas Life Southeast Asia marks a real shift in the evolution of our health and wellness business and is strategically a significant move for us,” she added.
Havas Worldwide already works with a number of health and wellness clients in the region, including Kalbe, MSD, Danone, Reckitt Benckiser and Astra Zeneca.
A medical doctor by training, Yamat completed his pre-med at the University of the Philippines and received a doctorate from the College of Medicine at the University of the East—Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Centre. He also obtained an MBA from the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.