Havas Chicago bolsters Executive Leadership team

Maisha Pearson and Lilia Arroya Flores

Havas Chicago announces the appointment of two key executives to round out a dynamic and diverse leadership team with proven abilities to drive the agency’s future growth and success.

Lilia Arroyo Flores joins Havas Chicago as chief strategy officer and Maisha Pearson joins as chief client officer.

“At Havas Chicago, we’re focused on operating as strategic business partners, assembling bespoke, cross-functional teams that break down the traditional silos to ultimately deliver against business KPIs—and Lilia and Maisha are essential to solidifying that model,” said Nikki Laughlin, president, Havas Chicago, who also oversees Annex Chicago and Annex Experience. “In strategy, that means data, analytics and insights come together to uncover human truths and power creativity. In client partnerships, that means holding ourselves accountable to those business KPIs and finding the spots where we can break and build.”

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Laughlin added, “With the addition of Lilia and Maisha, not only are we enhancing our capabilities, we are also gaining a new and diverse set of experiences and perspectives. They each bring unique superpowers that will enable our teams to deliver on the now and next, driving culture-fueled creativity and business results for our clients.”

Stephanie Nerlich, Havas Creative North America CEO, said, “Our clients’ business needs are constantly changing—now more than ever—with strategy and leadership paramount to guide them as they look to the future. Lilia and Maisha are especially noteworthy as we have taken the time to build out a leadership team representative of the heart and muscle of Chicago in Havas’ ambition to be both city strong and fiercely collaborative across the network.”

As chief strategy officer, Flores will be responsible for building and leading strategy across Havas Chicago, Annex Chicago and Annex Experience, bringing together human truths, data and insights to power creativity. Having spent more than two decades working in advertising, communications and marketing, she leverages cultural competency to increase creativity and business growth acumen through strategy. Most recently EVP, head of strategic planning for Edelman, Flores was a member of the company’s Chicago leadership team and was tapped to establish and lead the strategic planning practice. Prior to that role, she held multiple positions at Leo Burnett Group/ARC, leading global strategy and insight development for 25 brands in the P&G portfolio. She also brings experience from shopper marketing agency TPN Retail and FCB. Flores is an outspoken advocate for Diversity & Inclusion, and she currently serves on the National Board of Directors of The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE).

“I’m thrilled to join the team at Havas Chicago, having learned that we share many key values that I’ve embraced throughout my marketing career as a business and brand strategist,” said Flores. “I’m inspired to know we all believe that an understanding of culture, human behavior, rigorous data intelligence and rich storytelling leads to breakthrough creative strategies.”

As chief client officer, Pearson will serve as executive client lead and will be responsible for overseeing all clients across Havas Chicago, Annex Chicago and Annex Experience. A visionary leader with a creative spirit and proven experience successfully growing client accounts, she is focused on developing multi-platform programming that connects with consumers and achieves business goals. Pearson comes to Havas Chicago from Burrell Communications Group, where she was viewed as a true strategic leader and thought partner for clients. As vice president, she excelled in agency growth and client leadership, primarily serving as national account leader for the McDonald’s African American Consumer Market public relations business. A long-standing Chicago professional, Pearson spent several years as vice president with Porter Novelli, where she was responsible for brands including McDonald’s Owner/Operators of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, Vera Bradley and Dylan’s Candy Bar.

“Havas Chicago had my attention with its commitment to meaningfulness and distinct market positioning around the combination of craft and culture,” said Pearson. “By working with this powerhouse team, I’m confident we’re going to continue to inspire positive change and bring our best solutions forward for the remarkable roster of clients we have the privilege to work with every day.”

In addition to Laughlin, Flores and Pearson will collaborate with current Havas Chicago executive leadership team members including Jamie McGarry, chief growth officer; Allison Ciummei, chief talent officer; and Angelo Kritikos, chief financial officer. Havas Chicago and Annex clients include Bel Brands, Citi, Michelin, Moen, National Association of REALTORS®, Reynolds Consumer Products, AutoZone, Pillsbury Baking and Republic.

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