Chris Hirst is a change agent, widely recognised as an innovative and inspirational leader.
After a decade in CEO positions, he has a proven track record of leading transformation – guiding his businesses to deliver reputational change, growth and a culture of enduring success.
Chris was appointed Global CEO, Havas Creative in January 2019. As CEO, he leads more than 10,000 people across all Havas’ global territories.
During his time as Havas UK’s CEO and Chairman, he has been the architect of the first truly integrated agency model many in the industry are looking to emulate.
Thanks to his leadership, Havas UK now has an unrivalled breadth and depth of capability under one brand and in a single location, making it one of London’s most exciting and talked about communications businesses.
Chris Hirst was previously CEO at Grey London. Under his leadership, the agency went from being a failing, ‘safe but dull’ agency to the hottest creative shop in London. During his six years as CEO, Grey London was the fastest growing (doubling its size) agency in the market.
Chris went to his local state secondary school in Northumberland, before heading to Brasenose College Oxford to study Engineering Science. After an apprenticeship at Pilkington Glass in St. Helens, he embarked on (an unlikely) career in advertising.
Chris’ breakthrough moment came when he went to Harvard Business School in 2008. It was there that he developed his unique and now proven, approach to leadership. He believes in the principles of an open culture – where people are given permission to thrive and take risks – accepting that mistakes are a necessary part of success.
He is actively engaged in broadening the appeal of the advertising industry and sees diversity and social mobility as key factors in the future health of the creative industries in the UK and around the world.
In 2018, he led Havas UK to create the HKX Diversity & Inclusion Charter – a series of commitments to creating a more inclusive and diverse culture within all its businesses.
Chris is an executive board member at Vivendi and a trustee of the MOBO Foundation. He also holds several non-exec positions within the startup community and is determined to use his platform and his success to ensure the creative industries as a whole are fit for the future.
He is a regular commentator and contributor in press and broadcast including the Evening Standard, Financial Times, Sky News, ITV News, The Politics Show and more.
Chris Hirst – No Bullsh*t Leadership
Chris’ book, No Bullsh*t Leadership: Why the World Needs More Everyday Leaders and Why That Leader is You, was published in May 2019.
In the book, Chris explores his theory that leadership is not some exclusive club, open only to elites. It’s not a gold star given to those with fancy titles and expensive degrees. Leadership is what we all try to do every day.
Based on his hard-won experience, this smart, fun book delivers a step-by-step working manual on how to lead – for anyone. Full of simple and direct approaches, it demystifies an over-analysed subject to get to the heart of modern leadership: the life-changing, career-transforming power to get stuff done.
Leadership Keynote Speaker
A man more inclined toward simple and direct approaches, Chris Hirst demystifies an over-analysed subject and challenges the ‘leadership industrial complex’ he believes has grown up out of the commercial side of leadership, to get to the heart of modern organisational transformation: the life-changing, career-transforming power of getting stuff done.
Attendees will emerge with a clear understanding of culture and its importance, of how to confidently make decisions, and how to create the right environment to outperform the competition.
Ultimately, they’ll come to the inescapable conclusion, as Chris has done, that we can all be leaders, we just need to get on with it.
Drawing on examples from Nordstrom’s One Rule, to the former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, to Sir Clive Woodward’s Team GB Olympic success and even Julius Caesar; Chris takes inspiration from all areas of life to explore the simple and straightforward principles he believes will help a leader to lead and lead well.