Havas Helia's chief executive Tash Whitmey is to depart to take on the role of loyalty and membership director at Tesco – an account her agency has held for 22 years.
Whitmey is making the move client-side after six years at the helm of Havas' digital agency. She was heavily involved in Tesco's Clubcard loyalty initiative, which will be a large part of her remit.
The hire from Tesco bookends a year of change within the retailer's marketing department. Early in 2017 the grocer snapped up former Mindshare executive Nick Ashley as head of media, while ex-Unilever top brass Alessandra Bellini joined as chief customer officer, filling the top marketer role left vacant by Robin Terrell following his resignation in 2016.
Havas Helia has yet to reveal whether it will directly replace Whitmey.
Chris Hirst, chairman of Havas UK and top executive of Havas Europe said: "When the opportunity arose to lead the UK’s original loyalty scheme, we couldn’t stand in Tash’s way.
"While we are hugely disappointed to see her leave, it’s a brilliant opportunity for her and we’re equally excited to have her as a client. We’ll be working with Tash and her team over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth handover, as well as the right shape for the Helia business moving forward."