Red Havas Australia reshapes its leadership team

Red Havas Australia has made a number of changes to its leadership team to align itself with global strategy as the agency continues to expand in international markets.

First founded in Australian in 2019, the agency brand of merged media agencies has been rolled out into fourteen markets and 22 offices across the world, with further plans for expansion and investment as it continues to grow with support from Havas Group and parent company Vivendi.

L-R: Haylie Marchant, Alex Bryant, Kate Smailes, Simone Gupta, Matt Thomas, and Sue Cook.

The newly reshaped leadership team reflects Red Havas Australia’s alignment with key global growth areas; health and wellness, corporate PR and reputation management, technology and e-commerce, consumer, and lifestyle, automotive and mobility, travel and hospitality and employee engagement.

Simone Gupta, CEO of Havas PR Australia, and leader of Red Havas, Havas Blvd, One Green Bean and Organic, will continue her role, reporting in to James Wright, global CEO Red Havas and global chairman f the Havas PR Global Collective.

Managing director of Red Havas, Steve Fontanot, will take on a new role as commercial managing director for APAC, including M&A and commercial partnerships. Fontanot will support the Havas APAC leadership team on strengthening the PR offering in the region. He will continue his role as managing director of Havas Blvd.

The managing director of Red Havas role will not be replaced at this time, with a national managing partner bench to drive the strategic direction of the agency across Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane offices.

Kate Smailes, executive director, Havas Blvd, has been promoted to managing partner, Havas Blvd and chief content officer with a remit to drive growth across brand experience and the automotive and mobility category

Alex Bryant, executive director, Sydney PR is promoted to managing partner consumer and brand, with a remit to drive the consumer and creative offering across the agency.

Sue Cook, practice head of health, is promoted to managing partner health and wellbeing supported by Nicole Phillips, executive director. Phillips will join the senior leadership team.

Steve Fontanot

Matt Thomas, executive director, corporate public affairs is promoted to managing partner corporate and public affairs, with a remit to drive the Corporate PR, Public Affairs and Employee Engagement offering with an expanded remit across the leadership of the Melbourne office.

Haylie Marchant, executive director, Brisbane, is promoted to managing partner, with a continued remit to grow the Queensland operation and expanded responsibilities across the agency.

“It is an exciting new phase for Red Havas as we grow our global micro-network of agencies. We have great leaders in place to take us into the next evolution of the business and a superb group of future leaders helping us power the business. These changes enable the business to strengthen our areas of specialisations, as well continue to develop new offerings as clients evolve. Red Havas Australia continues to be one of the strongest performers for Havas in the APAC region,” said James Wright.

“Over the past 18 months myself and Steve have taken the Red Havas senior leadership team in Australia through a number of changes, to ensure we are future fit in this transformed world to grow the business and changing needs of clients. The deep expertise and experience of this leadership team reflects key areas of opportunity and growth, and enables us to attract the best talent,” said Simone Gupta.

The changes are effective immediately, as the agency continues to look for an executive leader to lead its growing social and content team.


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