Bollore Eyes Havas' Media Operations, Names Himself Chairman Of MPG

As an aggressive takeover artist, French financier Vincent Bollore hasn't always had the best relationships with the media. Now he's put himself in charge of it. The French businessman who seized control of French agency holding company Havas more than a year ago, and has been eyeing a similar takeover of the U.K.'s Aegis Group, has installed himself as chairman of Havas' MPG media services network.

The move is another in a series of surprises surrounding Havas' media operations, and come a week after MPG slightly reorganized its U.S. operations, appointing highly regarded vet Steve Lanzano to COO, the No. 2 position behind MPG U.S. chief Charlie Rutman. That announcement, which was made quietly late last Friday, came at the end of a week in which MPG's French management team was said to be swirling around the New York operations.

Over the past couple of years, the powerful Rodes Vila family of Spain, which are major stakeholders in Havas, have been the major architects of its media operations. In May 2006, Alfonso Rodes Vila was named CEO of MPG, succeeding his brother Fernando Rodes Vila, when he became CEO of Havas. In October, Havas restructured its media operations again, forming Havas Media, a holding company-level unit to oversee MPG, secondary media network Arena, online and digital arm Media Contacts, sports-marketing specialists Havas Sports and branded-entertainment division B6 Integrated Entertainment.



How much influence Bollore will have in Havas' overall media operations are not clear from today's announcement. Bollore took the position 10 days ago following a Havas board meeting.

In a related development, Havas said it is changing the name of its MPG France operations to Havas Media France, a potential precursor to a global re-branding of MPG's media operations around the globe.

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