Havas Malaysia has appointed Nizwani Shahar as its new CEO, according to Havas when MARKETING-INTERACTIVE reached out. Shahar takes over from Andrew Lee, the current managing director for the group as he departs the agency following an early retirement. Prior to Havas, Shahar was the CEO at Ogilvy Malaysia.
As CEO, Shahar will lead Havas Malaysia through a period of growth. Her primary focus will be on fostering collaboration and partnerships, driving new business momentum, and building and leading future-ready teams, said Havas. The appointment is effective immediately, and she will report directly to Alberto Canteli, the CEO and chairman of Havas, Nordics, CEE & Middle East, SEA, Korea & Japan.
“Havas' approach to integration sets it apart, and one of the primary reasons I chose to join this agency is its exceptional model supported by a high level of integration and robust digital capabilities. I’m truly excited to take on the new challenge and look forward to working with the team,” said Shahar.
Shahar brings with her a wealth of experience, having spent 12 years at Ogilvy Malaysia and having served as their CEO for four years. A well-known name within Malaysia's ad industry, Shahar has also helmed roles such as managing partner of Ogilvy before eventually being promoted to chief executive. She is also currently the VP of 4As Malaysia.
Prior to Ogilvy Malaysia, Shahar was the brand director at McCann Worldgroup from 2008 to 2011, where she was was the account leader on the L'Oréal Paris and Maybelline New York accounts.
She began her career as a strategic planning and account executive at Interface Advertising, from 2004 to 2006 before moving on to brand manager at Euro RSCG from 2006 to 2008.
"I would like to thank Lee for his contribution to our Malaysia operations and wish him the very best for his future endeavors. He has played a pivotal role in driving and expanding our creative business in Malaysia," said Canteli. "Shahar's extensive experience and proven commercial acumen and ability to foster business growth makes her a natural choice for the leadership role, and I am certain that under her leadership, we will further consolidate and strengthen our foothold in this important market."
Earlier this year, Ogilvy Malaysia underwent a restructure under a unified leadership to be more cost efficient. As part of the restructure, Kunal Jeswani was appointed as the Group CEO for Ogilvy Singapore and Malaysia. He succeeded Chris Riley in this move. Jeswani was last with Ogilvy in India for the last 17 years. He had been CEO of Ogilvy India since 2015. Prior to that, Jeswani was the chief digital officer of Ogilvy India.
The integration journey of the agency in two markets was announced as early as 2021, along with a new organisational structure that saw a newly integrated leadership team offering cross functional operational management. According to Ogilvy, the new structure was aligned with a global direction to provide integrated solutions in the five core businesses of growth and innovation; advertising, brand and content; PR and influence; experience; and health.
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