NEW YORK: Havas PR has hired Renee Harper, CCO of the Newark public school system in New Jersey, to serve in the newly created role of EVP for North America, effective May 31.
Harper, who will report to North America CEO Marian Salzman, will help the agency in its work in the education, philanthropy, and NGO sectors.
She will work on new business, develop teams, serve as a key adviser to Salzman, and support clients such as the firm's recently won United Nations Foundation account, said Harper.
“My primary objective is to grow the business by delivering outstanding work for our clients,” she explained. “Great begets great, so if you do great work, you get great clients.”
Harper added that she decided to join Havas because of the agency's “entrepreneurial corporate culture” and leadership team.
Harper has worked for the Newark Public Schools since August 2011, serving first as a consultant and then signing an official contract as CCO a year later.
During her stint in Newark, Harper helped with messaging and stakeholder engagement for the announcement of superintendent Cami Anderson in 2011. She also worked on the $100 million challenge grant donated by Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to help Newark Public Schools.
Harper, who has a contract with Newark Public Schools until the end of June, said she will continue to work with the district as she transitions into her role at Havas.
Previously, she served as a business-development director and consultant for Bell Pottinger Communications USA, where she worked with the US Department of Defense.
She also founded her own firm, Gambate Communications, in Dubai in 2001. The agency was the exclusive Middle East affiliate for Ketchum from 2002 to 2006, but it folded a year after losing its exclusive partnership.