Agency type/ownership: Integrated creative agency network; owned by Havas Group/Vivendi
2020 revenue: Declined to supply
2021 revenue: Declined to supply
Organic growth: Declined to supply
New clients: 50+
Accounts at year end: 350
Headcount at year end: 1,210
Employee churn: 37%
Key U.S. personnel: Stephanie Nerlich, CEO, Havas North America; Laura Maness, CEO, Havas New York and Havas CX Helia; Myra Nussbaum, president and chief creative officer, Havas Chicago; Tim Maleeny, chief strategy officer, Havas North America; Dan Lucey, chief creative officer, Havas New York
Females on staff: 58%
Females in senior leadership: 49%
BIPOC on staff: 35% (0.2% American Indian or Alaska Native; 6% Asian; 7.5% Black or African American; 18.6% Hispanic or Latino; 0.2% Middle Eastern; 0.1% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; 0.3% South Asian; 0.3% Southeast Asian; 1.9% Two or More Races; 0.3% Other; 3.25% no answer)
BIPOC in senior leadership: 26% (5% Asian; 7% Black or African American; 12% Hispanic or Latino; 0.8% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; 0.8% Two or More Races; 6.5% No Answer)
After the challenges of 2020, Havas North America CEO Stephanie Nerlich described 2021 as a good year. “We learned, miraculously, how to work in this environment,” she said, “even though we struggled through those first six months.”
Two new offerings were central to Havas’ growth in 2021: Havas CX and the Havas Social Center. With 1,600 people working in CX across North America, it is Havas’ fastest-growing vertical, and the agency tightened up its offering in response to questions appearing in RFIs. Havas Social Center emerged from the company’s work with Coca-Cola and has grown to have “its tentacles throughout the organization,” Nerlich said. And a new offering called AFK, or Away from Keyboard, marked Havas’ entry into gaming in 2021.
Cox Communications, Havas’ biggest U.S. win, stands out as an example of the collective strength of Havas, which organizes its offices around “villages” to break down silos for clients. “Arnold was the lead, but that was amplified by Republica (our multicultural agency in Miami) and the Social Center in Atlanta,” Nerlich explained.
Despite growing new business revenue by 81%, Havas parted ways with Consolidated Edison after declining to defend the business. Of Havas’ 350 client relationships, 40% are retained accounts.
Many of Havas’ DE&I efforts have been focused on recruiting. For instance, Havas Open House are sessions that cast a wide net for talent by raising awareness of advertising as a career. More than 800 people globally attended all of them. Havas North America is making headway toward its goal of half of all new hires coming from underrepresented groups, clocking in at 36% in 2021.
Nerlich is on board for Vivendi’s carbon-neutral, zero-waste goals by 2025 — and she thinks COVID might make some easier to reach. Havas New York achieved B Corp status this year. “Everyone is taking it seriously,” she said.
We’re encouraged by Havas’ recruitment and sustainability efforts, as well as its expansion into new verticals like gaming. However, we have concerns about the low proportion of retained clients and lack transparency into revenue.
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