Ex-Havas Media CEO Matt Houltham resurfaces in global CMO role

Former Havas Media CEO Matt Houltham has joined research technology platform Glow as its global CMO.

Houltham becomes Glow’s first global CMO having spent two decades in agency land. He has spent two years on the firm’s advisory board prior to taking the full-time role.

Glow’s new global CMO, Matt Houltham

Since his departure from Havas Media in December, Houltham has been splitting his duties between advising Glow as well as Komo Digital Engagement. He was in the Havas Media national CEO role for just 12 months before departing, with Virginia Hyland taking over.

Speaking to Mumbrella, Houltham said that joining Glow interested him after working with similar companies across his career.

“After a couple of decades, one of the things that I recognised I’d enjoyed the most was working with startups and emerging businesses, where as an agency you got to apply a broader palette of skills to help them with their needs because often the CEO was a product person generally, and they tended to not have the breadth of marketing support that they needed.

“I’d been working with Glow as an advisor for the best part of the last two years, so the privilege was that I had a look behind the curtain. When they had a need for a marketing role and I was helping them to identify how to fill that, it became an actual conversation about whether or not it was something that I wanted to take on.”

Glow is now servicing Asia out of a Hong Kong base and Europe out of London, with the past couple of months seeing a hiring drive across both markets. Houltham said that plans for an expansion into the US should also materialise by the end of the year.

This upscaling, he said, was a major reason for his eagerness to “jump ship and go client-side”, in turn trying to apply everything he has learned over the last couple of decades.

“I really see my role as helping the business to scale, it’s a really great secret at the moment. Not enough small, medium and large businesses know about Glow and how they can use it to help inform some better decision making.”

Glow founder and CEO, Tim Clover, expressed his delight in Houltham joining in the permeant CMO role, after working together for the past few years.

“It seemed a natural progression to bring him on full-time to bolster our senior management team at a time when we are growing quickly and expanding internationally,” he said.

Houltham spent five years at Havas Media, four as MD of the integrated Melbourne operations before moving into the national CEO role following Wilson’s shift into the chairman role in 2019.

Houltham said that his departure from Havas Media last year came following a “change in strategic direction” after the acquisition of the Hyland Agency, of which he played a central role.

Mike Wilson’s departure from Havas Media was revealed last week

“I’m proud to have stewarded that acquisition through, as I think Mike alluded to, ‘seamlessly’. He certainly played a key role with his relationship with Virg (Virginia Hyland), and I would say I played a key role operationally to make sure that that integration went as smoothly as it did.

“The signal of that was that I came in to play a strong integration role in the Havas Village in Melbourne, where it was about bringing together the media and the creative agency, and that approach was unbundled after I left.”

On Wilson’s departure last week, the two having worked together at Naked Communications and Havas Media, Houltham said that he is sure that whatever Wilson does next would be a success.

“He’s a man who likes challenges. I’m sure he felt that there wasn’t an interesting challenge left for him after that period of time in the driving seat. I think he will go on to do something equally interesting, as his other endeavours.”


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