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Havas Japan CEO Steve Cox to take wider North Asia role to exploit ties with Vivendi

Havas Japan chief executive Steve Cox has taken a wider North Asia role with the agency – as flagged by Mumbrella – as part of plans to drive its business in the region.

The agency has also confirmed the appointment of former Google executive Ryuji Mitsuishi Banderas as managing director, Havas Japan.

Cox will take the role of vice chairman and chief integration officer North Asia, working closely with Havas APAC chief growth officer and chairman and CEO of North Asia, Levent Guenes.

Havas Japan CEO Steve Cox is to work with Levent Guenes to drive growth in North Asia

Guenes spoke of the Vivendi possibilities in an interview with Mumbrella last month where he said Havas was determined to secure a greater foothold in the region.

He said the association with Vivendi could help the business become a “powerful” force in a region where it has previously failed to make its mark.

“The Vivendi infrastructure, Havas included, is quite big in those markets and we just need to channel that power and make sure we find the right sweet spot to create something new out of that,” Guenes said. “I think we could be quite powerful, especially in Japan where, for example, [Vivendi-owned] Universal Music has 800 people.”

In a statement issued this afternoon, Guenes described Japan and Korea as “fast-moving markets rooted in innovation, creativity and technology”.

Levent Guenes: Japan and Korea are “rooted in innovation and creativity”

“The creation of our North Asia sub-region adds a key pillar in our journey of moving to a single Havas Group APAC leadership structure, as part of accelerating our global ‘Together’ strategy,” he said. “Stephen’s promotion will facilitate the collaboration between Havas Group and Vivendi – which is significant in this region – to create a powerful marketing force, unique only to Havas.”

He added that Banderas’s “proven track record” will position Japan for “long term success”.

Cox will focus on collaboration between Havas and Vivendi subsidiaries Universal Music Growth, Daily Motion, Gameloft and Canal+ Group.

Cox said: “I look forward to working closely with Levent, Joseph, Toshio, and Ryuji as well as the Vivendi companies to drive our ambition to be a network to reckon with in this region.”

Under the new structure, Toshio Naka will continue in his role as managing director Havas Japan (Media), with Joseph Rhee remaining Havas Korea CEO.

Havas Asia Pacific chairman and chief executive Mike Amour spelt out the need to focus on Japan and Korea in an internal email in which he listed acquisitions, new ventures and partnerships as key to driving growth.

Amour described Japan and Korea as “two of the most important advertising markets in the world” that needed “top APAC management support” to ensure “long term success”.

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