R/GA hires Host/Havas ECD Seamus Higgins to lead new creative leadership team in APAC

R/GA APAC hires Seamus Higgins to lead creative team

R/GA has hired former Host/Havas executive creative director Seamus Higgins as vice president and chief creative officer of Asia Pacific to lead the agency’s creative team.

The agency has also promoted R/GA Australia executive creative director, Robert Chalmers to executive creative director and head of experience design, APAC, and R/GA Tokyo executive creative director, Niklas Lilja to executive creative director and head of stories, APAC.

The new creative leadership team has been added in response to client demand and growth within the agency and follows further high profile hires, including the addition of Tuomas Peltoniemi as executive vice president and managing director of APAC.

Speaking to The Drum, Peltoniemi said the investment in the creative team was necessary due to agency growth but was also part of plans to bring the capabilities of R/GA APAC up to par with its global operations.

“We grew about 50% last year, so it is huge growth and we are at a place where we are looking at what our creative leadership structure would be. Creative is one part of the offering, but a huge part of the heritage at R/GA. The agency globally is split into services of business transformation, experience transformation and design, and marketing, and creative is a huge part of all three," he explained.

"We will be focusing on a few things with the new team; for clients, we need to make sure the right teams are in place and we are doing the right work. I will be making sure the existing offices are growing but in some markets, we are still new, so the other area we need to work on is building out the R/GA mix of services, so Asia has the capabilities to offer the full global services."

Higgins will start his role in April. Speaking ahead of this, he said he was interested in R/GA because of the opportunity to tie creativity in with the business transformation and experience design services.

“One of the broader themes that I am keen on, which taps into the conversation around the issues that agencies are dealing with, is the shift in power from brands to people. I think it’s incredible that a lot of agencies haven’t been able to position themselves to innovate," he said.

"We need to smartly cut through all barriers to communications and tell powerful stores, but the other part is about really using marketing science and data to deepen our understanding of audiences. These are all parts of R/Ga’s business and we have the ability to combine them."

He added: "It’s what it’s all about, it’s the very definition of creativity and the value of creative capital is in genuinely connecting people with brands in surprising, meaningful and relevant ways."

Higgins will lead the creative charge across R/Ga’s Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney, and Melbourne offices.

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