In a surprise move, Aegis Group has announced that Simon Francis is out as CEO of Aegis Media EMEA, and that his role will be consolidated under Nigel Morris, CEO of Aegis Media Americas. Morris, a British native, will continue to be based at Aegis Media Americas New York headquarters.
Aegis did not disclose reasons for Francis' departure, but curtly announced that he was leaving “with immediate effect.”
The move appears to be a senior management consolidation, and one that concentrates more of Aegis Media’s global oversight under Morris, a key player inside Aegis’ organization, and MEDIA magazine’s 2011 “Media Executive of the Year,” largely for his impressive turnaround of Carat’s fortunes.
But the move comes months after Aegis Media EMEA recruited a top Starcom MediaVest Group exec, former CEO of Starcom France, Thierry Jadot, to become CEO of Aegis Media France.
The move also follows lagging results at Aegis Media EMEA. The region’s organic revenues rose only 1.7% during the first quarter of 2012, according to an Aegis earnings statement. While EMEA’s sluggish results compared with near double-digit growth in the first quarter of 2011, its 2012 results compare with an overall organic growth rate of 8.0% for all of Aegis Media.
“There were good performances from our businesses in Russia and northern Europe, whilst southern Europe continued to face challenging market conditions,” Aegis said in the earnings statement.