Red Havas Australia Announces Shane Russell As New CEO

Red Havas Australia Announces Shane Russell As New CEO

Red Havas Australia has today announced Shane Russell (lead image) as its new CEO. Russell joins Red and returns to Australia after more than a decade at New York based 5W Public Relations, where he played a key role in helping drive its rapid expansion to become one of the USA’s top 10 independent PR agencies by size.

Red Havas Global CEO and CEO of Havas Creative Group Australia, James Wright, who recently returned to Australia after four years based in the US welcomed the appointment.

“Red Havas is one of the fastest growing PR networks across the globe. Knowing first-hand the competitive nature of the New York environment, I’m excited to see Shane bring the skills and enterprising attitude that saw him thrive in the US and apply them to our ambitious growth plans in Australia,” Wright said.

Born and bred in Queensland, Russell says he is energised to be returning to the Australian market to lead the nation’s premier PR and strategic communications agency at this time of exciting growth and evolution for both Red and the industry overall.

“While Red has the backing of Havas Village and the global Havas network, I believe the entrepreneurial and creative spirit of the agency sets us apart for winning world-class clients and talent,” Russell said.

“I’m excited to work on further building our reputation for leading-edge creativity alongside a phenomenal roster of consumer and corporate brands. With my strong professional background in all areas of technology, I’m also excited by the significant investments Red is making to increase our presence as a leading agency in the tech sector.”

This most recent appointment forms part of a strategic reshaping of the Havas Creative Group following Wright’s return to the Australian market. Other key appointments include:

  • Gayle While appointed as CEO of Host Havas
  • the promotion of Ant Moore to MD of Host Havas
  • the reshaping of the leadership group at One Green Bean with Amber Abbott becoming MD and Lauren Bailey made managing partner and director of innovation
  • And the acquisition of Bastian Brands by Havas Health & You in November 2022 to add pharma advertising expertise to its portfolio.

These shifts are all supported by the transition of former Red Havas MD, Steve Fontanot to commercial managing director for Red Havas APAC as part of plans to spearhead growth across our broader region.

“As one of the most significant communications networks operating globally, Havas Creative Group is making further inroads, not only in Australia, but the broader Asia Pacific Region,” Wright said.

“With Red Havas announcing a number of major client wins already this year, including the global PR brief for Tourism Tasmania that will be hubbed from Australia, and Red’s sister agency Havas Blvd picking up lifestyle PR duties for Lexus, 2023 is shaping up strongly for the Group.”

Having commenced his career working across a broad range of consumer and B2B businesses, in recent years Russell has specialised in leading teams working on some of the world’s leading technology and corporate brands. He brings a deep understanding of the disruptor and startup landscape supported by a wealth of experience across global consumer and enterprise technology including brands such as Samsung, Amazon Go, Crossfit, Roblox and Axiom Space.

“Alongside his strong leadership capabilities, we are excited about the additional insights and experience that Shane will bring to our Australian offering as we press ahead with our ‘borderless’ global strategy to transcend countries, audiences, channels and formats and seamlessly share our clients’ full stories, wherever their audiences choose to consume it,” Wright said.

Launched in 2019, Red Havas is the global consumer and creative communications arm of Havas. It was a pioneer of the strategic “Merged Media” model that brings together traditional and digital publishing, content, social media, and data within a single infrastructure, and now operates in 14 markets and has 26 offices.




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