Chris Hirst

Chris Hirst

European and UK Group CEO at Havas London

London, United Kingdom
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My Latest Work

Summary

As the CEO of Havas UK and Europe, Chris Hirst is one of the most influential creative leaders in the region.

Since joining Havas in 2015, Hirst has been responsible for the continuing innovation of the creative group, winning accounts for world-leading brands such as Heathrow, adidas and Huawei.

Chris’ recent appointment follows a successful 10 years at Grey London.

He transformed the agency into one of most creatively awarded in the UK advertising market.

Chris went to his local state secondary school in Northumberland where he excelled in Maths and Physics, leading him to take a place at Oxford University to study Engineering. After an apprenticeship at Pilkington Glass in St. Helens it became obvious to him and others, that a life in a factory was not for him and he resolved to pursue a career in advertising!

Originally a planner, Chris has built his reputation on outstanding account management, first at BBH and later at Fallon, working on a range of brands from Skoda to the BBC.

A Harvard Business School graduate (2008), Chris’ leadership is based on the principles of an open culture – an expression of his belief in how people-based businesses should work.

He is dedicated to creating the best possible environment at Havas and attracting the very best talent from all backgrounds. He is actively seeking to broaden the appeal of the advertising industry and sees diversity and social mobility as key factors in the future health of the creative industries in the UK and Europe.

Chris is a regular speaker at industry forums and commentator in national press including BBC News, The Politics Show, Evening Standard, FT and Sky News and contributes regularly to The Huffington Post. He is the current Chairman of Effectiveness for the IPA, holds a seat on the council of the Creative Industries Federation and is a member of the Royal Society of Arts.

Sector Experience

People I worked with

James Wood
Advertiser's Supervisor
Fallon London
Ivan Bird
Director
Rattling Stick
Dave Masterman
Art Director
Fallon London
Ed Edwards
Copywriter
Fallon London
Chris Kay
Account Manager
Fallon London

Positions

European and UK Group CEO

Havas London
London, United Kingdom
September 2015 - Currently here (1 year 3 months)
Chris Hirst is originally from Northumberland. After graduating from Oxford with an MEng, he rather arbitrarily resolved to get a job in advertising. After working for a number of leading agencies, he joined the safe but dull Grey London as MD. Promoted to CEO, he got an MBA from Harvard Business School and began the agency’s transformation into the exciting, successful creative business it is today, being named the most effective and creative agency in the country as ADWEEK’s global agency of the year, IPA Effectiveness Agency of the Year and D&AD’s most awarded UK agency. Chris is a regular speaker at industry forums and commentator in national press. He is currently one of the BBC's Robert Peston’s Speakers for School. He joined Havas in September 2015 and is dedicated to creating the best possible business culture and environment to help attract the very best talent from all backgrounds.

CEO

GREY London
London, United Kingdom
January 2010 - 2015 (5 years)
Over the last ten years, Chris established Grey London as one of the UK’s most sought after advertising agencies, creating famous campaigns for leading brands like McVitie’s, HSBC, Vodafone, and the British Heart Foundation.

In 2014, Grey London was named the most effective and creative agency in the country as ADWEEK’s global agency of the year, IPA Effectiveness Agency of the Year and D&AD’s most awarded UK agency.

Experiencing rapid growth YOY, Grey London grew to over 450 staff working across all communications disciplines from TV advertising, to digital to shopper marketing.

Originally from Northumberland, Chris went to one of only two state schools in the UK with a boarding wing (although he lived across the road). For reasons which now escape him, he studied maths and physics and chose engineering as a career. During his year out he worked as an apprentice for Pilkington Glass in St Helens, which amongst other things convinced him he didn’t want to work in a factory for the rest of his life. After graduating from Oxford with an MEng, he rather arbitrarily resolved to get a job in advertising.

After working for a number of leading agencies and on a range of brands from Skoda to the BBC, he joined the safe but dull Grey London as MD. Promoted to CEO, he got an MBA from Harvard Business School and began the agency’s transformation into the exciting, successful creative business it is today.

Chris is dedicated to creating the best possible business culture and environment at Grey London and attracting the very best talent from all backgrounds. He is actively seeking to broaden the appeal of the advertising industry and is passionate about politics and social mobility as essential to the health of the creative industries and to the UK economy.

Chris is a regular speaker at industry forums and commentator in national press including the Evening Standard, FT and Sky News. He is currently one of the BBC's Robert Peston’s Speakers for School.

Managing Director

GREY London
London, United Kingdom
June 2003 - December 2009 (6 years 6 months)

Acct Director

Bartle Bogle Hegarty
June 1996 - June 1999 (3 years)

Education

AMP, Business Administration

Harvard Business School
2008 (1 year)

MEng, Engineering Science

University of Oxford
1990 - 1994 (4 years)

Trade Organizations

Oystercatchers Club, London

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