Wavemaker hires US CSO, filling role for first time since 2018

GroupM agency Wavemaker followed a winning streak in late 2020 by hiring Dennis Potgraven as the first chief strategy officer in the United States for more than two years.

Potgraven comes to Wavemaker from Havas, where he led creative, digital and media strategy teams as Strategy Director for Havas in the greater China region. The hiring marks the first time Wavemaker has appointed a U.S. chief strategy officer since David Gaines was appointed global head of media strategy for WPP at the end of 2018.

In her new role, Potgraven will report directly to Wavemaker U.S. CEO Amanda Richman.

Broad strategic expertise

“Our success in 2020 has been driven by our people and their commitment to driving positive growth for our customers,” Richman said in a statement. “Dennis’ strategic expertise in media, creative and data science, coupled with his customer experience, will elevate our work to be more holistic and with high impact in customer growth.”

A Havas veteran for nearly a decade, Potgraven first joined the network in 2012 and served as Strategy Director for Havas Media’s Amsterdam office before taking on strategic leadership roles at Havas Media for the APAC region and greater China. Prior to joining Havas, he held customer-side marketing roles, including marketing management responsibilities for Nestlé and the Dutch food retail brand Ahold Delhaize.

Rental follows account gains

“What continues to impress me about the US organization of Wavemaker are the technology, data and content capabilities rooted in a collaborative culture,” Potgraven said in a statement. “My experience in the Chinese market, where e-commerce and social behaviors clearly influence successful growth strategies, has convinced me that Wavemaker is in the best position to deliver more connected solutions.

This appointment follows a string of accounts won for Wavemaker in the final months of 2020. Some of these new accounts include a confectionery business Perfetti Van Melle names Wavemaker as benchmark American media agency last month and spirits and wine company Pernod Ricard names Wavemaker as benchmark American media agency last fall. It also follows the new venture of former Wavemaker US CSO David Gaines as co-founder and CEO of Mother’s new media agency, Media by Mother.

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