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News Analysis 16 Nov 2020 - 2 min read

Virginia Hyland takes over at Havas Media; Amobee local boss Liam Walsh exits

By Josh McDonnell - Senior Writer

Fresh off the acquisition of her independent media agency HYLAND by Havas, Virginia Hyland is taking over the top job of the holding group's media division. Current Havas Media CEO Matt Houltham has stepped down after four years with the business. Elsewhere, long-time local leader of Singtel-owned demand-side platform and digital advertising business Amobee, Liam Walsh, has also exited the business after five years.

Hyland to head up Havas

Three months after her independent agency was acquired by Havas, the French holding group has seen enough to make her boss of its local media arm.

Incumbent CEO Matt Houltham will exit the business after four years within the group, as Hyland takes over leadership of the media operations across Australia and New Zealand.

The Hyland acquisition, completed in August this year, boosted Havas' media agency headcount in Sydney to over 100 staff, and brought brands including Coty, Etihad Airways, Sydney Airport, Deliveroo and Church & Dwight into the fold.

Since then, Hyland has been running the agency as a dedicated division within Havas Media. She is working up plans for a "comprehensive and agile" media offering alongside media group Chairman Mike Wilson and senior leadership.

“In acquiring Virginia’s market-leading independent media agency, there’s incredible momentum in our team and with clients. Virginia is an impressive industry leader and entrepreneur, so we are excited about her taking the helm of our media business as it builds scale," said Havas Group ANZ Chairman Anthony Freedman.

“Matt has been a key part of our business, initially in Melbourne and more recently on a national basis and we would like to thank him for his hard work and commitment, never more evident and necessary than during this challenging year. We wish him every success in all that lies ahead."

Hyland said Havas is already reaping the benefit of combining the agencies' capabilities, with "innovation at its core" of its roadmap.


Amobee leadership shake-up

At the digital end of town, local boss for DSP and digital ad solutions business Amobee, Liam Walsh, has exited the business after five years.

Walsh took over the role in 2015 and contributed to the local launch of several of its global products in CTV, programmatic, digital out of home and social media.

He most recently oversaw the launch of Amobee's programmatic, measurement and targeting capabilities for digital out-of-home, as well as the partnership with audience technology business Eyeota.

Walsh's departure comes less than a year after Samba Natarajan took over as global CEO of Amobee. Natarajan has also kept his role as Group Digital Life CEO for Amobee's parent company, Singtel.

Walsh responded to Mi3 with this statement: "Amobee is positioned for stellar growth in converged linear TV and digital, like nobody else is. I have been leading digital businesses for twenty years and of course that’s hugely rewarding but equally a tad taxing so I’m taking a break to not look at email when I’m at the beach.”



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Josh McDonnell

Senior Writer

Market Voice

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