Havas is a digital native company: Yannick Bollore
“I think the average age of employees at Havas is 27, it is a digital native company,” says Yannick Bolloré, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Havas Group, in a matter of fact manner exuberating quiet confidence, while we quiz him on the group’s digital focus and growth plans.
“Everybody is digital. Out of 20,000 people today, 10,000 of the people were not here two years ago. All these 10,000 people that have joined us are all 100 per cent digital, they all understand digital. We don’t have a digital specialist; everybody is a digital specialist. We have to first understand that we have technology specialists but we do not have digital specialists. I have 20,000 people in Havas, if anyone tells me that he doesn’t know digital and he doesn’t do digital for clients then he will not stay at Havas. Everybody is digital because digital is a part of real life, it’s not something different,” elaborates Bolloré.
About 40 per cent of the group’s business growth globally is coming from pure play digital today.
Bolloré at 36 is the youngest global CEO among the holding agencies in the media domain and views this as an obvious advantage.
“I believe that the youth is making a difference. One of our objectives is to predict the future and make sure that the clients and the brands get the best piece of advice and the best piece of content; I think it is a big advantage to be a young CEO in this world because one can understand the new trends of the world,” he adds.
Q. We can’t help but ask him: When you are hiring, are you looking for younger talent?
“It is not about the age, it’s about the attitude. When I ask someone- are you on Snapchat, and he says no but his kids are, I would never hire him. But if a guy is 80 years old and he is on Snapchat we will hire him.” Says Bolloré
Interestingly the group has hired three CEOs- 19 years old, 21 years old and 22 years old for its agency in Chicago, the trio are running a team of 200 people, a first for any agency globally.
Edited Excerpts from a freewheeling chat with Yannick Bolloré (at Cannes) on growth plans for India, hiring the right talent, his confidence on India and more.......
Q. What are your specific plans for the Indian market?
See, I am not in a hurry. My goal is to find the right people to make sure we can hire superstars and I am sure the business will evolve. I mean it’s not something that we have to do in the coming months, I am very happy with the team, we have a strong talented team with strong creative directors, they are doing a good job. I am very happy with the work that they are doing. I think we have to support the teams, so we continue to push the teams and make sure that they have every resource, every tool to do a better job for their clients. I believe that India has the opportunity to develop a lot in the coming years, we are super confident.