Havas Group today announced it is expanding its chief strategy officer of North America’s role. Greg James will take on the newly created position of global CSO, effective immediately.
“The U.S. [represents] about a third of our global business, and I’m already hands on with certain clients like Philips that have [operations] all around the world, so to some extent, it’s just an extension of what I already do,” James told Adweek. “The bigger change will be how I now help craft our narrative to bring globally what the agency has brought to the [North America] market.”
That narrative spans the network’s integrated “Together” strategy and what it calls its “Meaningful Brands” analysis, which leverages data from 1,500 companies worldwide and more than 300,000 people to examine the connections between specific brands’ performance, their meaningfulness and the content they produce.
James said finding meaning for brands is key across the globe, especially today, as consumers are increasingly looking to companies to emanate trust and transparency. He said the biggest issues facing the global media industry are data and GDPR—the latter not only affects Europe but “how all markets react to the data journey,” he added.
James claimed Havas has mastered the strategy of aligning content and communications compared with other holding companies, giving it a “unique” global advantage.
James was appointed CSO of North America in 2013 and has led Havas to win a record amount of new business in the U.S., including Universal Music Group, Swarovski, Hallmark and Dow Jones in 2016 alone. He’s also managed award-winning campaigns for LVMH, Nintendo, Coca-Cola and Unilever, among other clients.
In just the past few months, James said, Havas added more than $1 billion in new billings.
Before being named Havas’ CSO of North America, James was U.S. managing director for Cake, a sports entertainment agency Havas bought in 2008. At the time of the acquisition, James was a partner at Cake and its head of content.
In his new global role, James will report to Havas Group Media CEO Peter Mears.
“Greg is charismatic, collaborative and creative, with an impeccable track record for client growth and team leadership,” Mears said in a statement, adding, “We’ve built a strong momentum of new business wins over the last few years, and I know from experience Greg will continue leading us to further success in the years to come.”
The Bolloré family behind the French media conglomerate, Vivendi, acquired Havas Worldwide last year for an estimated amount of more than $2.5 billion.