Dentsu’s Gayle While named Host/Havas CEO as James Wright returns to Australia

Host/Havas has raided Dentsu for Laura Aldington’s replacement with Gayle While announced as CEO. 

While joins from Dentsu where she was chief client officer having joined in 2021 after a stint in the UK.

She had been in the CCO role at Dentsu for just under a year but had previously been chief digital officer in the media side of the business.

Dentsu had been on a hiring spree of late which saw a number of senior industry leaders join the group. Each of its main divisions, including Dentsu Creative, its media business, Merkle and Dentsu Solutions had major hires last year. 

Gayle While

Prior to joining Dentsu, While was CEO of  Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, a role which she left in March 2020. 

Of the move, While said: “I’m excited to join a creative agency with such an enviable legacy, and humbled to play a part in continuing to propel the team and work forward. There is a phenomenal team, and it’s the combination of their passion with access to the talent, innovation and collaborative spirit across the Havas Village that makes this such an incredible opportunity.

“Getting to know James (Wright) through the process, it became clear there’s a genuine ambition and commitment to take the business to another level, and I can’t wait to work with the team to build on its successes, and continue to make a meaningful difference to our clients.”

Dentsu Creative CEO, Kirsty Muddle told Mumbrella: “We’re happy for Gayle. She was a great colleague and fabulous leader. We’re thrilled for her.”

A replacement will be announced in due course.

Meanwhile, Wright has confirmed that he is relocating to Australia as CEO of the Havas Creative Village and will take responsibility for its agencies including Host/Havas, h/commerce, Red Havas, Havas Blvd, One Green Bean and Organic. 

James Wright

He was previously based in New York. 

Wright will continue in his role as Global CEO Red Havas and Global Chairman of the Havas PR Global Collective.

He said in a statement, “Whilst I have always kept close to the Australian market and teams during my time in New York, I am delighted to be back in my spiritual home where we have a world class roster of agencies, talent, clients, and opportunity. I am looking forward to working with our senior management teams in the Havas Village to forge an exciting new chapter for the Group.”

Wright will be the keynote speaker at Mumbrella’s upcoming CommsCon conference on May 11. 

To hear the team talk about this story in more detail, listen to this week’s Mumbrellacast. (The new leadership structure at Havas Group – 13:11)


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