Publicis Groupe today issued its first-quarter earnings report 10 days earlier than originally scheduled, along with new details about steps the Groupe is taking to manage the company through the COVID-19 crisis. The report was issued after the close of the Paris stock exchange.
The Groupe posted net revenue of $2.71 billion (€2.48 billion) up 17.1% for the period, with an organic revenue decline of 2.9%, in line with internal expectations.
The company announced a €500 million ($546 million) cost reduction plan to be “fully enacted” in 2020, which includes reduced (by 50%) and delayed dividend payments and short-term salary cuts for senior executives.
Also, country leaders have been tasked with reviewing operations to explore all possible cost0savings measures including potential salary cuts, central staffing reorganizations and furloughs, and shorter work weeks. Layoffs were not mentioned specifically, but could become a factor in planning at the country level.
Company CEO Arthur Sadoun is taking a salary cut of 30% for the next two quarters and the members of the Management Board and the Management Committee are voluntarily reducing their fixed compensation by 20% for the second and third quarters.
Board chairman Maurice Lévy will reduce his annual compensation by 30%.
The company stated that it is bracing for the “greatest recession since the Second World War.”
“We are now all facing a crisis that will be unparalleled in terms of magnitude, complexity, and probably length,” stated Sadoun.
North America net revenue was up by 36.5% in the first quarter while organic revenue grew 0.5%. This growth was driven by strong media and creative performances. Epsilon and Publicis Sapient also contributed to growth in the region.