On Friday, Havas made a couple of internal changes to refresh its creative department, promoting Jason Musante and Israel Garber to group ECD/New York managing director and global ECD/GM, respectively.
We heard there might be more news to come, and it went live this morning: Matt Howell, who is himself a Havas veteran, will replace outgoing chief digital officer Sean Lyons (now back at R/GA) while BBDO New York ECD Toygar Bazarkaya will be the agency’s chief creative officer for the Americas.
The Adweek interview with global CEO Andrew Benett attributes the change to the chief’s “vision for the Havas network in the next five years”: more focus on creative and tech and greater collaboration between international offices. As Benett himself puts it, “we are trying to double down on creativity and innovation.”
Bazarkaya has held top creative positions in multiple agencies across Germany, the U.S. and Brazil, serving as an art director at Jung von Matt and DDB’s offices in both New York and Sao Paulo before bouncing from Mullen to Hamburg’s Springer & Jacoby. He joined BBDO Dusseldorf as an ECD/CCO back in 2007 and moved to the New York office in 2010.
Howell spent several years in accounts-related positions at R/GA, serving as group director on the Nike account and holding several different agency roles before assuming the managing partner/global chief digital officer title at Havas/Arnold in 2011. He eventually parted ways with the agency in April 2014 to become a partner at Boston-based design firm Vermonster.
Why did he return to the agency world? The story doesn’t touch on that one, but he had already spent a few years working with Havas leadership.
The Turkish-born, Bazarkaya–who grew up in Germany–is the first person chosen to unite Havas’ North and South American offices.
He says the new gig will give him “the freedom of creating something, to be asked to build a world-class company versus to join a world-class company,” but Benett doesn’t offer much in the way of elaboration.