H. Defechereux is a former top Madison Avenue executive. Born in
French-speaking Belgium, he arrived in the “Big Apple” at age 25. After earning an MBA from Columbia
University, he started his advertising career with Ogilvy and Mather in New
York, where he climbed the career ladder from packaged goods to handling top
brands including Duracell, American Express, United Technologies and Peugeot
Motors of America – winning an Effy Award for the latter.
After reaching the title of executive Vice President and Director of New Business, he was hired by another top agency, Doyle Dane Bernbach (now part of Omnicom) to lead their Detroit office and revive the VW-Audi brands. There, he achieved one of the most memorable successes of his career by championing the still-famous Fahrvergnügen campaign against many odds; which gave the VW brand a new lease on life. After that, he returned to New York where he helped a newly nominated agency in its first year with new client Mercedes-Benz.
Having now gained an excellent command of American English, he started also writing marketing articles for various publications, notably for the “Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce Monthly Review”. But cars and car racing had been passions of Philippe’s from a very early age, he was quickly pulled back. After reading a biography of American film icon James Dean, he noticed the little-known fact that the hero of Rebel Without a Cause himself had a deep passion for competitive racing. After investigating the matter in depth, Philippe wrote an exclusive book on the topic, which featured rare photographs and interviews. The work was published both in America in English and in Europe in French.
For his next book, Philippe tackled the birth of European-style car racing in America, called “Road Racing. Set on “country-roads-like circuits” and featuring production sports cars, Road Racing proved so quickly popular that by 1950, it had spread through the entire country and remains popular in America.
Philippe continues to write regular feature articles about automobiles and History, notably for the poplar “VeloceToday” website. He plans to return to French writing also, among others for the popular French magazine Paris-Match, for which he wrote a dozen personality profiles.
Philippe left Manhattan in 2012 and relocated to northern NJ. A long-time member of the Madison Avenue Sports Car Driver and Chowder Society, he almost always attends their monthly luncheons at Sardis in the Theater District. It’s only one hour away.