Ad Age published a damning story about Publicis Groupe today, asserting the company is in disarray and may soon announce another major restructuring. That could result in the consolidation of creative shops, like Saatchi & Saatchi, and the folding of Publicis Media into another division at the holding company.
The piece described the company as “chaotic, unclear and concerning.”
As one might expect, the folks at Publicis Groupe weren’t thrilled with the story and issued a denial.
Here's the statement: "These rumours are categorically untrue. 2019 was a year of profound transformation for Publicis Groupe, when we put in place new leaders and new structures across all of our operations, particularly in the U.S., where we implemented a ComEx to make the Power of One a reality in our biggest market.
"We have absolutely no further plans to merge any of our brands or review our leadership structure, especially given the traction our model is having with our clients and in new business over the past 12 months."
My guess is Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun will have something further to say about the story on a planned Feb.6 earnings call. It's bound to come up.
Ad Age reported speaking with mostly former employees of the holding company, as well as a couple of current ones. All quietly declined to be quoted by name in the story, written by Lindsay Rittenhouse.
Morale has gone downhill, per the story, and Sadoun himself is a bit hamstrung. He is prevented from doing all he might want by board leaders like Elisabeth Badinter, the daughter of Publicis founder Marcel Bleustein-Blanchetlf.
Ad Age reported that Publicis denied several facets of the story, but apparently, the publication believed in its unnamed sources strongly enough to go with it. Guess we’ll see.
This story has been updated with a statement from Publicis Groupe.