McCann poaches Havas North America CEO Stephanie Nerlich as global president

—Nerlich, who started her career in Canada and has been at Havas since early 2020, will begin at McCann effective immediately—

By Bailey Calfee

McCann Worldgroup has poached Havas North America CEO Stephanie Nerlich for a new role as global president of McCann, the agency said on Tuesday.

She will report to McCann Worldgroup and McCann’s global CEO, Daryl Lee, effective immediately.

Nerlich, who has served as Havas Creative Group’s global chief client officer and North American CEO since January 2020, spent most of her early career in Canada, including a client-side stint with Fidelity in the mid-90s before joining J. Walter Thompson.

Over the next two decades, she enjoyed a steady upward progression through the Canadian ad world, including more than a decade at BBDO, where she exited as executive managing director to join Lowe Roche as president in 2008. From there, she spent five years as CEO of Grey Canada (2011 to 2016), before she was hired by MDC, where she began taking on international remits until joining Havas.

At McCann, Nerlich’s key responsibilities will include driving business growth and “expanding new capabilities in global markets,” working in partnership with McCann Worldgroup’s regional presidents, according to a press release. She will also work closely with McCann’s U.S. Verizon business, a key client, providing executive leadership and counsel on the account.

Nerlich’s dual agency-wide and client-level responsibilities are part of Lee’s leadership structure plan, which aims to “foster deeper collaboration and better access to resources for key clients,” said the release, which described Nerlich as a “powerhouse in our industry.”

“She is a champion of creativity with the unmatched ability to bring the right teams together for clients, simultaneously driving business growth and fuelling brand innovation,” said Lee. “We are delighted to have her join the global leadership of the storied brand of McCann.”

During her time at Havas, Nerlich guided the agency’s North American arm to its most-awarded showings in Cannes and the Effies, while fostering growth and new business for the creative network. As noted in Campaign US‘s  2023 Agency Performance Review, Havas swept 123 creative awards in 2022.

“I am thrilled to join McCann as global president,” said Nerlich, who was one of Campaign US’s 40 Over 40 honorees in 2021. “It’s rare that an opportunity with such a celebrated agency comes along, particularly one that can deliver industry-leading creativity that solves business problems for such an enviable roster of clients.”

This article was originally published at Campaign US, and includes files from The Message.