Australia — Red Havas has expanded its presence in the strategic corporate communications space following the launch of a dedicated corporate affairs practice. With this, the company has named the 20-year industry veteran Matt Thomas as the new executive director of corporate affairs.

Thomas brings two decades of experience as a results-oriented, strategy-driven communications professional across the agency, consultancy, government, education, and the arts to the role. His agency background includes three years at Icon Agency, holding the position of director of public relations and content, where he grew a small team to win notable recognitionsacross the Asia Pacific.

He also holds extensive work experience in the government sector, including holding positions such as senior communications and advisory roles with Bayside City Council and Victoria’s Department of Health, as well as Department of Education and Training, Department of Sustainability and Environment, among others.

For the new role, Thomas will lead Red Havas’ corporate and recently formed public affairs teams to service clients within Red Havas and across the Havas Village. The newly created role encompasses oversight of crisis and issues management, strategic communications, corporate media relations, internal communications, stakeholder engagement, government, and investor relations thought leadership, reputation management and media training.

Simone Gupta, CEO of Havas PR Australia, said, “Thomas brings a clear strategic vision for how government and corporations approach corporate narrative, build and protect reputation. Red Havas has trusted long term relationships with clients across sectors that often look to us for this kind of counsel and strategic planning, led by Thomas this is an exciting growth area for the agency.”

On the appointment, Thomas welcomed the opportunity to help organisations navigate rapidly changing landscapes and shared his enthusiasm on his new role.

“Red Havas is a great Australian success story. From a small office in Melbourne, the brand has become a major powerhouse in the global public relations sector. I’m delighted to be joining the agency at this exciting time to build on its existing strengths in corporate and public affairs and expand this offering to meet the evolving needs of clients across business, government and the not-for-profit sectors,” Thomas said.

The introduction of the Red Havas corporate affairs offering follows the formation of the public affairs practice headed by experienced public policy and stakeholder engagement campaigner Lawrence Muskitta in December 2021, and the subsequent appointment of exceptional political and strategic communications advisor Jacqui Munro as senior account director.