Havas Media set for full launch into Australia with new management team

mike wilson

Wilson: Name linked with Havas Media role

Australia is set to see the launch of a new globally-aligned media agency with Havas Media expected to relaunch its brand at the end of the year when a local deal with Aegis Media expires.

The agency MPG, which rebranded as Havas Media at the start of the year, was originally launched as a joint venture with Mitchell & Partners mainly as a means of servicing MPG’s globally-aligned clients and as a local conflict brand for Mitchells.

But the purchase of Mitchells by Aegis Media saw MPG/Havas effectively being run by a rival global holding group.

Dominique Delport, global MD of Havas Media, is due in Australia in late November. When contacted for comment Havas’ Asia Pacific CEO Vishnu Mohan would not be drawn on the expected relaunch. Mohan also declined to comment on growing speculation about who would lead the relaunched agency telling Mumbrella’s sister title Encore: “We continue to operate in the same way as we have been doing.”

Former Naked Communications chairman Mike Wilson is being tipped as a frontrunner to lead the agency. The media veteran left Naked abruptly just over a month ago, shortly after the agency was fired by the Labor Party when it was caught up in a controversy in which it was accused of bartering editorial access to then PM Kevin Rudd in exchange for free advertising. Wilson’s lengthy media career saw him co-found Naked locally nine years ago. Prior to that he was GM of WPP media agency MEC and he originally worked in the legendary media department of British agency BMP. He also did a stint as a marketer at Warner Music.

However, one factor which raises questions about Wilson’s availability for a launch at the end of the year is whether any non-compete period with Naked will have expired by then.

Wilson declined to comment.

As well as Wilson, industry rumours link other big industry names to the job including Bellamy Hayden co-founder Phil Hayden and former Mindshare and Quantium agency boss Chris Walton. Both ruled themselves out of the role when asked by Encore.

Another name in the frame was former ninemsn commercial director Jason Scott. However, this month he was revealed as the new CEO of Allure Media.

Encore can also reveal that Havas Media has appointed OMD business director Ben Sjogren, who quietly left the agency a few days ago, to a senior role.

“We can confirm that Ben joined the Havas Media Group to lead the LG business as well as look after business development in the Sydney region,” Mohan told Encore.

The agency’s clients include LG Electronics, ExxonMobil, Medibank Private and Air France.

The current Aegis-aligned local version of Havas Media is run by Melissa Roberts, who has been with the agency for seven years.

Aegis Media declined to comment, directing questions to Havas Worldwide.

Nic Christensen


Encore issue 32

This story first appeared in EncoreDownload it now on iPad, iPhone and Android tablet devices.


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