The agency has been without a Southeast Asia CEO since Naomi Troni departed the region in early 2014, after a bit more than a year of what one source termed a "failed experiment".
Troni was soon after appointed global chief growth officer at Lowe and Partners, and her Havas duties reverted to Dan Gibson, group MD in Singapore. However, Gibson recently left Asia to return to the UK.
The agency said the appointment, effective immediately, "comes at a strategic time" as Havas "continues to promote a new agency vision with a fully integrated and collaborative approach across the markets, sharing resources locally and regionally, while overcoming P&L limitations and delivering consistently high-quality services for all its clients."
Guenes is a 14-year veteran with the agency. His career began in Germany in a financial role, and he later took on operational responsibilities in Hong Kong and Japan. More recently, he became involved in business growth for Southeast Asia, according to the company.
“This is an exciting announcement for Havas as we continue to expand our footprint and strengthen our teams and services in the region," Juan Rocamora, chairman of Havas Worldwide Asia Pacific, said in a press release. "Levent has and will continue to lend strategic value to the business with his hands-on management style.”
Guenes promised in the release that 2015 will be "a tremendous and eventful year of growth."