Staff Reporters
Sep 2, 2021

Women to Watch 2021: Laura Aldington, Host/Havas

Not only did Aldington pivot like a machine during the pandemic, she also led her team with much thoughtfulness and empathy.

Women to Watch 2021: Laura Aldington, Host/Havas
Celebrating the torchbearers in the APAC marcomms industry

Laura Aldington


On her journey to becoming CEO of Host/Havas Australia, Laura Aldington accrued a wealth of international experience with stints in London and New York before returning to Australia to initially take up the role as managing director of Host, and eventually being appointed CEO in 2017 to lead the successful merger of Host/Havas.

Although a challenge to lead the merger of two agencies, it was one Aldington relished and excelled at. Since she assumed leadership of the merged business four years ago, Host/Havas has won Grand Effies, Cannes Grand Prix, Black D&AD Pencils and a swathe of Agency of the Year titles, and has been among the world’s top five most-awarded agencies.

Challenges have come and thick and fast over the last few years, with disruption to traditional models, media, customer experience and cultures and, by no means least, the global pandemic. But seeing these challenges as an opportunity to change or be changed, Aldington chose to change. That change has involved building a new agency with a clear vision and strategy to be indispensable to clients, deliver world-class output, pitch less but win more, and build a culture in which people can thrive.

And it has worked. Unlike most agencies, Aldington led through the pandemic without making a single pay cut, redundancy or reducing anyone’s hours in 2020. Her focus on relationships drove organic growth. Plus, the agency didn’t lose a client throughout the pandemic, and instead added new clients.

Culture—one where people can thrive—is one of Aldington's four key pillars of business transformation strategy. To that end, Aldington has helped reimagine employee benefits across the Havas Group, including flexible working, innovative leave provisions that value wellbeing, caregiving and diversity of life experience, and community service leave programmes that enable her teams to make a difference to others.

Leading by example, as a board member of the Advertising Council of Australia, Aldington has made a difference herself by being instrumental in launching the Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan. A first for the Australian advertising industry, the plan will provide pathways for indigenious people to find employment in the industry.

Celebrating the torchbearers in the APAC marcomms industry


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