Havas Canada names new CEO

Melody Adhami takes over leadership as the agency goes to market as a "digital-first creative experience consultancy."

Havas Canada is looking to take on more large-scale, digital transformation projects with clients, and it has named Melody Adhami as its new CEO to lead that effort.

Reporting to Havas Creative North America chairman and CEO Paul Marobella, Adhami will manage Havas’ creative business in Canada. Adhami was the co-founder of Plastic Mobile, which Havas acquired roughly three years ago, and has also been serving as Havas’ COO in Canada.

Marobella says Adhami’s track record founding and growing Plastic Mobile will be a key element of her mandate as Havas looks to reposition itself and the way it goes to market, both within Canada and across North America.

“Her goal is to bring together the digital and mobile capabilities in Havas Canada and [to] go to market as a digital-first creative experience consultancy with creative at the core of the offering,” Marobella says. “Over the past five years or so, we’ve been building a really powerful digital and creative experience capability in both Toronto and Montreal. One of the ways we built that was by acquiring Plastic Mobile. Melody’s success in growing that business showed us that having a digital leader at the helm of our creative offering in Canada was the right way for us to go.”

As much as the way Havas’ clients do business has changed, so too have the agency’s competitors, says Marobella. He sees Havas Canada serving the type of “digital transformation” projects more associated with consultancies across the agency network.

“When you are competing against the Accentures and Deloittes and Sapients of the world, that’s a different competitive set than the DDBs and BBDOs and Drogas,” he says. “It’s requiring companies like ours to have a group that has built modern creative capabilities. We see Havas Canada competing for large-scale digital transformation opportunities, not just in Canada, but across North America and to be at the forefront of our digital transformation capability globally.”

Tom Olesinski, who was named CEO of Havas Canada in Toronto in 2017 following the departure of Helen Pak, will be leaving the agency after a short transition period. Jan-Nicolas Vanderveken, who was also named CEO of Havas in Montreal at the same time, remains in his role. Alex Panousis will continue to lead the agency’s media division, having joined as president and executive advisor in the summer, but will now report directly to Havas Media Group’s president Lisa Evia in Chicago. Alex Chepovetsky, chief digital officer and president of Havas Canada, also remains in his role, focusing on managing the creative and digital experience practices.