Publicis Groupe Unveils Major Management Changes - COO Jean-Yves Naouri Is Out

Publicis Groupe disclosed sweeping managerial changes Tuesday morning, designed to put in place the future leadership of the company. The changes included the departure of its Chief Operating Officer Jean-Yves Naouri, once considered a candidate to succeed Maurice Levy as CEO of the Paris-based holding company.

Naouri had overseen a number of areas at the holding company, including the Healthcare group, IT, procurement, Publicis China, Rosetta, and Prodigious. He had also overseen flagship agency Publicis Worldwide until last fall when he was succeed by Arthur Sadoun who became CEO Publicis Worldwide. Several executives will divvy up duties that had been handled by Naouri, including company CFO Jean-Michel Etienne.

The company said that Levy, 72, would step down in 2017. The years-long search for his successor remains ongoing.



Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi is also taking on a new role—Executive Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi/Fallon and “Head Coach” of Publics Groupe, the latter a post in which he tasked with “inspiring and motivating the Groupe’s top leaders.” Robert Senior will takeover the reins of the Saatchi & Saatchi/Fallon Network as CEO.

The company has also restructured its Management Board, known as the Directoire, creating as sort of Super Directoire consisting of a new main board plus additional executives that with the main board comprise a group known as the “Directorie+.

The new Directorie includes Levy, Roberts and Etienne. All three were members of the old Board. Joining them is Anne-Garbrielle Heilbronner, currently in charge of the Groupe’s auditing, legal and HR areas, and who is taking on added responsibilities for purchasing and insurance that had previously been handled by Naouri.

The new Directorie+ plus board members include Sadoun, Laura Desmond, global CEO of media network Starcom MediaVest Groupe, Steve King, Global CEO of sibling media network ZenithOptimedia, Rishad Tobaccowala, who has been promoted to Chief Strategist of Publicis Groupe from a top role at VivaKi.

Tobaccowala is tasked with focusing on the strategic direction of the Groupe’s digital future. Axel Duroux is joining Publicis Groupe next month and will be responsbible for the strategy, development, performance and optimization of the Groupe’s presence in emerging and fast-growing markets, the company said.

Razorfish and Rosetta, with certain Nurun assets will form a new Razorfish Global brand, under the leadership of Tom Adamski who will serve as CEO of the new entity.  Luke Taylor and Adamski will both report directly to Levy.

Frank Voris CEO of VivaKi has been named CEO of Re: sources, with responsibility for the Groupe’s Shared Service Centers and IT. He will also supervise production platform Prodigious. Those duties had previously been overseen by Naouri. Prodigious will also undergo “accelerated development” under CEO Jean-Francois Valent.

VivaKi is split into two divisions including VivaKi Exchange, under CEO Simon Pardon, which will deploy trading, negotiation and execution operations globally. VivaKi Data, under CEO Stephan Beringer, will further develop  the Audience on Demand and other platforms, especially in the data area.  Executive oversight of the VivaKi units will alternate yearly between Desmond and King. Desmond is first up. 

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