Havas has named new executive client and strategy leaders in its Chicago office heading into 2021, hiring Lilia Arroyo Flores as chief strategy officer and Maisha Pearson as chief client officer.
“Our clients’ business needs are constantly changing—now more than ever—with strategy and leadership paramount to guide them as they look to the future,” Stephanie Nerlich, who took on the role of Havas Creative North America CEO following the departure of Paul Marobella after eight years with Havas earlier this year, said in a statement. “Lilia and Maisha are especially noteworthy as we have taken the time to build out a leadership team representative of the heart and muscle of Chicago in Havas’ ambition to be both be city strong and fiercely collaborative across the network.”
Havas Chicago president Nikki Laughlin explained that the leadership appointments were instrumental in solidifying the agency’s approach of working collaboratively across disciplines and closely with clients to quickly deliver solutions tailored to their individual needs.
“The pace at which we’re moving requires us to be in lock-step,” she told Adweek. “The speed and agility is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.”
As CSO, Flores will be responsible for leading strategy across Havas Chicago, as well as consulting arms Annex Chicago and Annex Experience, tasked with integrating data and insights with cultural trends into strategy powering creativity. Flores succeeds Anna Parker as CSO, who took maternity leave earlier this year and chose not to return to the agency.
An industry veteran of some 25 years, Flores most recently served as evp and head of strategic planning at Edelman. She also spent time in strategic leadership roles at Leo Burnett/Arc and brings shopper marketing experience to the agency via her previous roles at FCB and APN Retail. Flores is also an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the ad industry and currently serves on the national board of directors of The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE).
“I feel like this role was tailor fit for me, bringing my whole experience together,” Flores told Adweek, adding that she was struck by the collaborative nature of the Havas Village model when interviewing for the role. “At every other agency, I’ve had to be in a swim lane. This strategy empowers me to ensure that [strategic] insights and human truths are connected. I can go across lanes and make sure those experiences we are creating are amplified correctly across the consumer journey.
“Collaboration is central to being nimble,” she added, explaining that she would partner with creative and account teams throughout the process to meet client goals.
Pearson will serve as executive client lead and will be responsible for overseeing all clients across Havas Chicago, Annex Chicago and Annex Experience. Laughlin formerly served as chief client officer, but sought to fill the responsibilities externally when her remit as president grew to encompass Annex Chicago and Annex Experience. Pearson arrives at Havas from Burrell Communications, where she was vice president.
“It’s an exciting time to be joining Havas Chicago. I’m passionate about client service excellence and meaningful relationships. This is what my career has been transitioning to and preparing me for,” Pearson said, adding that the agency’s resources and the ability to freely craft the role into what clients need attracted her to Havas, as well as a client roster spanning across categories.
Pearson takes on the role at a uniquely challenging time for clients in the wake of the pandemic and accelerated changes to consumer behavior.