By Erik Oster

20 mins ago

GroupM agency Wavemaker has followed up a series of wins at the tail end of 2020 by hiring Dennis Potgraven as its first U.S. chief strategy officer in over two years.

Potgraven arrives at Wavemaker from Havas, where he led strategy teams across creative, digital and media as chief strategy officer for Havas in the greater China region. The hire marks the first time Wavemaker has designated a U.S. chief strategy officer since David Gaines was elevated to global head of media strategy for WPP in late 2018.

In his new role, Potgraven will report directly to Wavemaker U.S. CEO Amanda Richman.

Broad strategic expertise

“Our success in 2020 was driven by our people and their commitment to positively provoking growth for our clients,” Richman said in a statement. “Dennis’ strategic expertise across media, creative and data sciences, paired with his client background, will elevate our work to be more holistic and high impact in driving client growth.”

A Havas veteran of nearly a decade, Potgraven first joined the network in 2012 and held a role as director of strategy for Havas Media’s Amsterdam office before moving into strategic leadership positions at Havas Media for the APAC region and the greater China region. Prior to joining Havas he held client-side marketing roles including marketing management responsibilities for Nestlé and Dutch food retail brand Ahold Delhaize.

Hire follows account wins

“What continues to impress me about the Wavemaker U.S. organization is the tech, data and content capabilities ingrained within a collaborative culture,” Potgraven said in a statement. “My experience in the Chinese market, where e-commerce and social behaviors distinctly inform successful growth strategies, has convinced me that Wavemaker is best placed to deliver more connected solutions.”

The appointment follows a series of account wins for Wavemaker in the final months of 2020. Some of those new accounts include confectionary company Perfetti Van Melle appointing Wavemaker as U.S. media agency of record last month and spirits and wine company Pernod Ricard naming Wavemaker as U.S. media agency of record this past fall. It also comes on the heels of former Wavemaker U.S. CSO David Gaines’ new venture as co-founder and CEO of Mother’s new media agency, Media by Mother.