Arnold Plans Dutch Outpost

Havas’ Arnold is planning to open an office in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, later this year that will serve as the global hub for its Volvo assignment, per sources.

A representative at the agency’s Boston headquarters had no immediate information on such plans.

In a broader sense, the move is part of the ongoing effort by agency CEO Andrew Benett (pictured), who joined Arnold earlier this year, to recast the shop as a player with both global reach and strong regional operations.

The Amsterdam launch is especially significant because it would signify the agency’s first big step to expand overseas after years of focusing on the U.S. market. Arnold’s three domestic units — Boston, New York and McLean, Va. — constitute its core operations, though it also maintains satellites in London, Madrid, Milan, Prague and Lisbon.

Though it ranks as one of the agency’s most significant assignments globally, Volvo’s U.S. spending declined during the height of the recession to $20 million last year from $50 million in ’08, per Nielsen. Arnold shares the business with SapientNitro. The brand was recently acquired from Ford by Chinese car giant Zhejiang Geely.

Following rough stretches in ’08 and ’09, Arnold has been staging a comeback in recent months, winning new business from clients such as Aetna, Alberto Culver, CVS, New Balance and Panasonic. The shop’s New York office fell short this week in an effort to add a piece of the Pinnacle Foods’ account.