Havas in Singapore will see yet another high-level departure, with the Asia-Pacific CEO and chairman Mike Amour leaving the agency network just weeks after the South East Asia chief creative officer Valerie Madon left and the North Asia chairman and chief executive, Levent Guenes, departed for Netiflix.
Madon left at the time of the E-Pay ‘brownface’ campaign controversy in July, but both Havas and Madon insisted her departure was not linked to the debacle. The aftermath of which saw government ministers in Singapore being forced to make public statements on the ills of racism, in order to calm sentiment among citizens.
Guenes went after 17 years at Havas, his exit coming less than 12 months after he was handed the task of driving growth in the tough-to-crack North Asia region. There were past reports of the group being unable to make headway in North Asia, with Amour in an internal memo identifying Japan and Korea as two of the most important advertising markets in the world. Also in February, Singapore chief creative officer Andrew Hook left to join VCCP.
However, Havas insisted that Amour’s departure stemmed from nothing more than a desire to “simplify the lines of management for our media and creative leadership teams, so they are more directly connected to their local APAC markets teams”.
Amour – who oversaw 17 countries and nearly 2,500 staff – is expected to leave in October following a transition period. The restructuring will mean India reports to global media and creative leadership via Vishnu Mohan, the chairman and CEO of Havas Group for India and South East Asia. Meanwhile, the Havas teams in Greater China and Australia will from this point on report directly to the global leadership in New York and London.
In a joint statement announcing the reorganisation, the global Havas Creative CEO Chris Hirst and the global Havas Media CEO Peter Mears said: “Over the past couple of years, we’ve been strategically investing in our Asia Pacific region with a specific focus on key acquisitions and partnerships in China and India.
“We’ve also been working closely with Mike Amour on how best to organise the region in terms of servicing our clients and fostering continued growth and innovation. Together we have decided to simplify the lines of management for our media and creative leadership teams, so they are more directly connected to their local APAC markets teams.”
“On behalf of the Havas Group, we would like to thank Mike for his contributions to the organsation over the past years and wish him every success for the future”.
Amour, who had been with Havas since 2016 when he joined from Starcom, added: “It has been a privilege to help drive the Havas Village strategy across this complex region, and to see how that plus Vivendi’s world-class capabilities can make a real difference to our clients’ businesses. I wish Chris and Peter continued success as they take Havas Group to new heights.”
Previously, Amour worked for other agencies including Grey, TBWA, Wieden+Kennedy and McCann. He joined as CEO of Havas creative group Asia Pacific in October 2016. On Amour’s watch at Havas, the agency implemented an ambitious merger of its creative and media profit and loss statement in 2017 right across the APAC region. The move left Amour in charge of 79 offices.
Through his tenure, the agency acquired several companies including Malaysian digital agency Immerse; Australian martech firm Catchi and three agencies in India – healthcare specialist Sorento, user experience firm Think Design and most recently digital specialist Langoor.
Other recent departures also included the Havas Media Malaysia CEO Andreas Vogiatzakis, who left to join the Star Media Group, and Havas North Asia vice chairman Stephen Cox.
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