maj 4th, 2018

Odette van der Haar appointed CEO J. Walter Thompson Johannesburg

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Johannesburg, South Africa (4 May 2018) — Odette van der Haar has been appointed CEO of J. Walter Thompson Johannesburg, effective 1 July 2018, reporting in to Jim Faulds, J. Walter Thompson Company South Africa CEO.  Formerly CEO of South Africa’s Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA) van der Haar will maintain links with the industry’s official body through her new role at JWT as the agency’s nominated representative. Van der Haar will continue to serve on relevant committees and Boards at ACA as appropriate.

Van der Haar’s celebrated tenure at ACA began in 2007 and has seen the official body expand its membership by 40%, raise 72 bursaries for the AAA School of Advertising, develop the APEX Awards into a brand with global equity, fought for the protection of intellectual capital in the pitch process, and provide advice for government institutions. 

Van der Haar joined the ACA from Sentech where she headed the company’s Advertising, Events & Sponsorship portfolio for two and a half years during which time, she launched the first national wireless technology, My Wireless, for consumers, and Biznet for business clients. Prior to Sentech, van der Haar held senior management and executive positions in marketing, business development and strategy variously at African Technology Holdings Group of Companies, South African Post Office Ltd, Siemens, BP Southern Africa, Mutual & Federal and Rentworks.  At Siemens van der Haar looked after the 20% of Siemen’s global clients based in South Africa, that generated 80% of global revenue for the company. At Mutual and Federal, van der Haar looked after the marketing portfolio for broker business and launched the first ever loyalty program in the financial services and insurance sector. 

Commenting on the appointment, Jim Faulds said, “Odette’s reputation goes before her and I am thrilled we will have such a solid business and marketing communications light leading the JWT Johannesburg team to even greater heights. Her immersion in strategy, business and digital, are core elements in JWT’s collaborative partnership with clients. I look forward to reimagining our clients’ brands futures with Odette’s glocal experience driving effective integrated business solutions that delight, with long-term impact.”

A dedicated industry professional, van der Haar has served on a number of Boards including the Board of the Brand Council of South Africa, and was the custodian of the acclaimed “Take a girl child to work” initiative. Her contribution to the business sector has been recognised in 2010, 2011 and 2012 by the SA Woman of the Year Awards, The Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards in 2015 and The Most Powerful Women in SA Digital Marketing in 2016. She is a Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network African chapter. Van der Haar believes in giving back to the community and is personally involved in many local initiatives and charities.

Van der Haar added, “Joining JWT is a new career highlight for me. With its innovative, future forward approach that has sustained its presence and relevance in South Africa since 1928, I am excited to return to the agency side of the business, collaborate with clients and the JWT team, as we continue to drive growth in our transformative and dynamic market. It has been my honour to serve the advertising and communications profession in South Africa as CEO of the ACA and as of July, I look forward to a continued and sustained relationship with the Association, through relevant commitments.”

J. Walter Thompson has the longest history of any agency in South Africa having established its market presence back in 1928. Offices were first set up in Port Elizabeth to manage the account of a major international client. Whilst agency presence is now represented with teams in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, the company has sustained its belief, relevance and strong foothold in the South African market without interruption for 90 years.



J. Walter Thompson Company was founded in 1864 and has been making pioneering solutions that build enduring brands and business for more than 150 years. Today the company has evolved to include several global networks including J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, Mirum and Colloquial

In the Middle East and Africa, J. Walter Thompson is one of the leading communication agencies in the region with 27 offices in 24 markets.   The MEA region is structured to deliver communication based business solutions across all channels needed to successfully deliver the marketing plan.  For more information, please visit us  and follow us @jwtmea

Contact : Philippa Clayre, Head of Corporate Communications, JWT Middle East and Africa

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