Havas San Francisco CEO Steps Down After 10 Years as Office Moves to MD Leadership Model

By Patrick Coffee 

The San Francisco office of Havas went through a “re-org” earlier this month that included the departure of chief executive officer Alan Burgis.

The CEO and Australian native left the organization after more than a decade, and Havas promoted two leaders from within to take his place.

“Havas is grateful for [Alan’s] work throughout his tenure, and the team will be led by MDs in the future,” said an agency spokesperson.

Those managing directors include Ernie Lageson, who had been executive creative director, and Monette Hagopian, who joined Havas in 2015 after working with client Genentech.

The agency spokesperson said the move had nothing to do with Burgis’s performance in the role but declined to elaborate.

In a company Q&A published less than two months ago, Burgis wrote that he joined Havas San Francisco—which specializes in serving area healthcare clients—when “the office had nine people and was about to lose $3 million in profit,” adding that the larger organization planned to shutter the operation at the time.

“In 2017, we are 65 people strong, making almost $3 million in profit, and a consistent new business winner,” he continued, adding, “No one person could have achieved this—it was a pure team effort.”

Earlier in his career, Burgis served as CEO of the Australian operations of FCB and Euro RSCG, which later became Havas. He then launched a couple of his own ventures in the states before joining the shop in 2007.

It’s not clear at this time whether the CEO’s departure is part of the larger restructuring effort that has occurred across the global Havas organization this year as CEO Yannick Bolloré attempts to bring divisions together under regionally-oriented P&Ls.

In May, Bolloré signaled his approval of French media giant Vivendi’s offer to buy out his own father’s 60 percent controlling stake in the group for $2.5 billion.