Vincent Bollore Resigns Havas Chairmanship

Havas Chairman Vincent Bollore resigned today and his son Yannick succeeded him. The news is not a total surprise, as the agency indicated earlier this year that the succession plan was in the works.

The company made the announcement as it reported first half results. Revenue was up 1% to $1.1 billion and net income rose 3% to $74 million.

Organic revenue growth was just 0.5% for the first half. It was just under 1% for the first quarter and 1.7% for the second quarter, which was at the low end of holding company performance for the period.

On a call with analysts to discuss first-half results Havas CEO David Jones acknowledged that the company got off to a “slow start” growth-wise, which will impact the rest of the year. He said July growth was in line with second-quarter performance. He attributed the slow start to “one-off reasons. Business is doing well now and we’re on a good rebound.”

Unlike WPP CEO Martin Sorrell a day earlier, Jones declined to do a deep analysis of the potential impact (or lack of it) of the proposed Publicis Groupe-Omnicom Group merger. When asked about it, he insisted that it did not present any sort of “scale issue or problem” for Havas. “The rules have been changed by digital,” he said. He added that the company would remain focused on creating “seamless integrated solutions” for clients, which is what they’re asking for.

Commenting on his ascension to the chairmanship, Yannick Bollore, who was also on the analyst call, stated that he was proud to take the reins of Havas "as it squares up to the major changes taking place in our sector."

Vincent Bollore took control of Havas in 2005 after staging a boardroom coup. He subsequently acquired the largest single interest in London-based Aegis Group and tried several times to force a merger or strategic alliance between Havas and Aegis. But Aegis was unwilling and he sold his shares in Aegis to Dentsu when the Tokyo-based holding company acquired Aegis earlier this year



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