Xavier Rees, Havas London

Xav has shaped Havas London into a pioneering creative force with the scale of a network, but the spirit of a start up. In 2020, that agility and creatively-led culture enabled the agencies to quickly innovate and support clients and communities in the face of the biggest upheaval to ever hit the industry.

Despite the dearth of new business in the industry, Xav spearheaded a new business drive that brought in 7 new clients across a diverse range of categories, EDF, John West, BBC, PepsiCo, the Cabinet Office, Pimco and Honor, landing Havas firmly in Campaign’s Top 10 New Business Performers with over £40m of new billings. He also expanded partnerships with clients such as Molson Coors, Heinz the Department of Education, Peugeot and Citroen.

Xav stepped up to enable clients at sharp end, such as Molson Coors, Department for Education and Heathrow, pivot and navigate through with the result that, in 2020, Havas achieved its highest ever client satisfaction scores - beating every network agency and 80% of the entire industry.

Beyond maximising the profit of the agency, Xav believes passionately that business can be a force for good. Having led Havas to become the first major UK agency to achieve B-Corp status, this year he drove this approach to business across the entire UK and global Havas network. He also worked to promote diversity and inclusion, open-sourcing Havas’ pioneering Press Pause anti-discrimination initiative and earning his place on the IPA’s iList this year as an inclusivity game changer.