Bess to Step Down at Havas

By Kiran Aditham Comment

ronbessWe’ve been hearing about this for a little while and now, we’ve received confirmation that Ron Bess, who’s spent nearly a decade at Havas Worldwide, where he currently serves as president of North American ops and CEO of its Chicago office, is stepping down from his post come year’s end. We’ve obtained an internal memo from Havas global president Andrew Benett regarding Bess’s move, which you can read below. From what sources familiar with the matter tell us, Bess will stay on in a consulting role, the parting is amicable and he’s not leaving the ad game altogether. During his 40-plus-year ad career, the Chicago ad man, who took over as president of Havas North America over four years ago, has also worked at the likes of what are now DDB and Draftfcb. Anyways, read on below:


I wanted to share with you that Ron Bess, North American President & COO, has decided to transition out of his current role and move into a consultancy capacity supporting the network in 2014. Ron has been a driving force at Havas for the past 10 years and a passionate leader and advocate in our industry for his entire career.

Throughout his decade of leadership Ron has demonstrated, every single day, his extraordinary passion for our people and our business. He is responsible for shaping the Chicago agency into what it is today.

Among his many achievements at Havas are the following…

– Growing the Chicago office from a one-client shop to a fully integrated agency with clients across multiple industries. His vision and creation are behind Chicago’s unified agency model, bringing together digital, direct, data, and advertising
– Leading the original Citi pitch and win and then growing it to be a significant client of the agency
– Leading the original Michelob Ultra pitch and win, as well as the recent re-pitch and win of the Ultra advertising and digital business
– On a North America level, Ron is responsible for the creation and consolidation of the organization across the region. He led the acquisitions of Kadium in San Francisco and Congruent in Baltimore, as well as the integration of our Canadian offices in Toronto and Montreal, and championed the creation of Camp+King
– Serving as the 4A’s Chairman for Chicago, Chairman for the Midwest Region, and a member of the 4A’s National Board
– Recognized as Chicago Advertising Federation’s Advertising Executive of the Year

Ron has also done a great job assembling the stellar team that will be responsible for leading our Chicago Group: Joy Schwartz, Jason Peterson, James Lou, Paul Marobello, Laura Maness, and Angelo Kritikos. I’m looking forward to working closely with the team in continuing to grow and evolve the Chicago Group, in addition to leading the day-to-day business for the North America organization.

As we enter 2014 with high expectations for significant growth in North America, the network is grateful to continue to have the benefit of Ron’s experience, insights, and genuine humanity working with us.