Red Havas Australia reshapes leadership team to reflect global strategy

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Red Havas Australia reshapes leadership team to reflect global strategy

(Pictured L-R: Haylie Marchant, Alex Bryant, Kate Smailes, Simone Gupta, Matt Thomas, and Sue Cook)

Since its inception in 2019, Australian founded Red Havas has rolled out the agency brand of merged media agencies into fourteen markets and 22 offices around the world with its focus on PR, social, content, data, and brand experience. It has further plans for expansion and investment as it continues to grow with support from the Havas Group and its parent company, Vivendi.


In order to continue to lead the market, Red Havas Australia has reshaped its leadership team to reflect local opportunities and its global focus on key growth areas; health and wellness, corporate PR and reputation management, technology and e-commerce, consumer, and lifestyle, automotive and mobility, travel and hospitality and employee engagement.

Effective immediately, the changes include:

Simone Gupta, CEO Havas PR Australia leading Red Havas, Havas Blvd, One Green Bean and Organic, will continue in her role and report into James Wright, global CEO Red Havas, and global chairman of the Havas PR Global Collective.

Red Havas Australia reshapes leadership team to reflect global strategy

Red Havas managing director, Steve Fontanot (above), will take up a new role, commercial managing director for APAC that will include M&A and commercial partnerships. Fontanot will support the Havas APAC leadership team on strengthening the PR offering in the region. Fontanot will continue his role as managing director of Havas Blvd.

The managing director of Red Havas role will not be replaced at this time, a national managing partner bench will drive the strategic direction of the agency across Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane offices.

Kate Smailes, executive director, Havas Blvd is promoted to managing partner, Havas Blvd and chief client officer with a remit to drive growth across brand experience and the automotive and mobility category

Alex Bryant, executive director, Sydney PR is promoted to managing partner consumer and brand, with a remit to drive the consumer and creative offering across the agency.

Sue Cook, practice head of health, is promoted to managing partner health and wellbeing supported by Nicole Phillips, executive director. Phillips will join the senior leadership team.

Matt Thomas, executive director, corporate and public affairs is promoted to managing partner corporate and public affairs, with a remit to drive the corporate PR, public affairs and employee engagement offering with an expanded remit across the leadership of the Melbourne office.

Haylie Marchant, executive director, Brisbane, is promoted to managing partner, with a continued remit to grow the Queensland operation and expanded responsibilities across the agency.

Says James Wright: “It is an exciting new phase for Red Havas as we grow our global micro-network of agencies. We have great leaders in place to take us into the next evolution of the business and a superb group of future leaders helping us power the business. These changes enable the business to strengthen our areas of specialisations, as well continue to develop new offerings as clients evolve. Red Havas Australia continues to be one of the strongest performers for Havas in the APAC region.”

Says Gupta: “Over the past 18 months myself and Steve have taken the Red Havas senior leadership team in Australia through a number of changes, to ensure we are future fit in this transformed world to grow the business and changing needs of clients. The deep expertise and experience of this leadership team reflects key areas of opportunity and growth, and enables us to attract the best talent.”

Red Havas is looking for an executive leader to lead its growing social and content team.