From One-Person Boutique San Diego-based Agency to Top National PR Shop, the Industry Veteran Leaves Behind an Inspiring Legacy
NEW YORK (Oct. 25, 2023)—Following a remarkable 30-plus year career in public relations, Havas Formula Founder and Chairman Michael A. Olguin has announced his retirement effective Dec. 31, 2023.
The journey began in 1992, when Olguin founded the agency as The Olguin Company—later renaming it Formula PR—as a modest boutique with a single office in San Diego. Over the course of three decades, his unwavering dedication, unparalleled work ethic and visionary leadership propelled Havas Formula to impressive heights—adding offices, talent, and landmark brands to its client list. Today, it stands proudly as one of the nation’s top 50 PR firms, a testament to Olguin’s fortitude and ability to innovate ahead of the industry.
“I’m incredibly proud of all we have accomplished—from representing today’s most sought-after passion brands and driving award-winning campaigns to creating a thriving workplace culture and nurturing young talent, many of whom have become leaders in the industry,” Olguin said. “While I relish having more time to spend with my family and enjoy what life has to offer, I leave knowing that Havas Formula is in more-than-capable hands with an amazing leadership team in place.”
Tara Reid, CEO of Havas Formula, and Adrienne Cadena, CEO of Havas Street, took the helm of the agency in January 2023 as Olguin transitioned to chairman. Working together, the pair has led collaboratively with a people-first growth mindset, adding to an impressive client portfolio. Havas Formula also expanded its digital and social services and creative and strategy offering.
“One of many things Michael has instilled in us is to never rest on our laurels or become complacent,” Reid shared. “We are constantly growing, learning, bravely pursuing unchartered territory, and challenging our clients to embrace unconventional thinking. This has made Havas Formula who we are today, and we have Michael to thank for that.”
Added Cadena, “Michael put more than 30 years of his heart and soul into this agency. His stamp is on every facet of Havas Formula—from the passion of our people to the pride in the work we produce. We will proudly carry on his legacy and are forever grateful for what he taught us and working side-by-side with him.”
Formula was acquired by Havas in 2014 and rebranded to Havas Formula. Since then, the award-winning agency experienced double-digit growth year over year. “There was some initial trepidation that our new parent company would want to change who we were and make us conform to their ways of doing business, but that simply wasn’t the case,” Olguin noted. “They embraced our entrepreneurship, and working with Havas leaders Yannick Bolloré, Donna Murphy and Frank Mangano has been the absolute best thing for our agency, as evidenced by our continued growth.”
When Olguin started Formula with a 386 computer and used furniture, he had no idea the agency would become what it is today. Following the sage advice of his father, Gillie, to “work hard and treat people fairly,” his PR career blossomed. Ever the innovator, Olguin recognized that many agencies at the time only offered public relations—so he built an integrated marketing firm offering experiential and digital services, as well as general market and Hispanic earned media, all in-house. All the while, Olguin encouraged his people to consistently deliver quality work for clients, adopting the agency’s mantra, “never confuse activity with results,” from the onset.
With a client portfolio now including nearly 150 clients, six offices across the country, and a leadership team averaging a 10-plus year tenure, Havas Formula is positioned to continue its impressive track record into 2024 and well beyond.
“I am so thankful for a career in which I was able to lead with passion, energy and creativity while working with some of the smartest and hardest working people in the communications industry,” Olguin concluded. “I could not be prouder.”
About Havas Formula
Havas Formula is a top-ranked national public relations agency headquartered in New York, with additional offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Miami, and Denver. A subsidiary of Havas—one of the world’s largest global communications groups—the firm specializes in general market and Hispanic PR, digital and experiential marketing, and crisis communications. Following this integrated approach as champions of bravery, Havas Formula drives strategic marketing solutions that yield bottom-line results for today’s passion brands. The award-winning agency’s core practice areas include consumer, lifestyle, consumer technology, high-tech, sports and entertainment, and travel, with category expertise in food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, spirits, and retail/restaurants. For more information, visit www.havasformula.com.