Havas Formula launches crisis comms practice

Longtime agency veteran Donovan Roche will head it.

Havas Formula named Donovan Roche to lead its new crisis comms practice. (Image via Havas Formula)
Havas Formula named Donovan Roche to lead its new crisis comms practice. (Image via Havas Formula)

NEW YORK: Havas Formula has launched a crisis communications practice and appointed longtime agency executive Donovan Roche to lead it, effective immediately.

Reporting to Havas Formula CEO Michael Olguin, Roche will lead the practice as VP of crisis communications from the agency’s San Diego office. He will work with existing and new clients to conduct vulnerability assessments, develop issues and crisis management plans, train brand-side crisis management teams, craft communications protocols and provide ongoing crisis comms support.

The group, Roche explained, will be set up like a “SWAT team,” where he can bring in staffers as needed based on individual crises.

“I will lead strategy and pull in those team members across the agency,” he said. “If it is a client situation, the people intimately familiar with the client will be on the team, and if it’s a brand we haven’t worked with before, I will assemble the top people within that vertical.” 

Havas Formula had offered crisis PR counsel “behind the scenes,” said Roche, but the pandemic reinforced the idea that every brand needs to be prepared for a crisis.

“As a lot of brands right now are looking at the crisis of the year ahead and uncertainty about how to communicate about it, we thought this was the right time to bring our crisis comms practice to the forefront,” Roche said.

Roche has worked at the agency since 1996 and was most recently VP of growth. That role is not being filled at this time, he said.

Havas Formula’s 2019 U.S. revenue was $25.6 million, up 15% from the 12 months prior, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report 2020.

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