A new model for Publicis Groupe

Chairman and CEO Maurice Levy is looking to break down silos by reorganizing its agencies into four dedicated networks.

By Val Maloney and Josh Kolm

Following disappointing Q3 results, Paris-headquartered Publicis Groupe is undergoing a major transformation in the final days of 2015, with chairman and CEO Maurice Levy unveiling a plan to break down silos within the company and create groups focused on client service.

The company’s current agencies will be divided into four hubs: Publicis Communications, Publicis Media, Publicis Sapient and Publicis Healthcare. The new structure, aimed at making the entire group’s offerings available to each client, moves the company away from a model of independently-run agency networks within the holding company into a model where its agencies operate as one part of the larger group. Despite this, the press release announcing the news says each agency will maintain its own culture and approach. The new structure will be effective Jan. 2.

Each of the groups will be led by its own chief client officer, with Laura Desmond overseeing all the groups in a new role as group chief revenue officer.

Publicis Communications will be led by Arthur Sadoun, who was previously CEO of Publicis Worldwide. The group will include Publicis Worldwide, MSL, Nurun, Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett, all of which operate in Canada, as well as BBH, Marcel and production hub Prodigious in other markets.

Publicis Media will be led by Steve King, previously global CEO of ZenithOptimedia. The group will include ZenithOptimedia and Starcom Mediavest Group in Canada, as well as Vivaki, Performics, MRY Moxie or RUN and all associated entities.

Alexandra Panousis, CEO at Starcom MediaVest Canada, says the global announcement hasn’t had an impact on her team.

Publicis.Sapient will be led by Alan Herrick. Herrick was first named CEO of the group earlier this year when it was first formed following Publicis’ acquisition of Sapient. The group is focused on digital platforms and includes Sapient Consulting, SapientNitro, DigitasLBi, Razorfish and all the associated entities.

Publicis Healthcare will be led by Nick Colucci, previously CEO of Publicis Healthcare Communications Group, which included Digitas Health Lifebrands, Razorfish Health and Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness. It’s not yet clear how Publicis’ healthcare agencies with be treated in the new model, with the release saying the newly launched group will cover all client needs related to the area.

The news comes after Publicis Groupe released Q3 results Levy called “disappointing,” with a 0.7% sales growth for the three months falling well below its previous predictions and leading it to adjust its predicted full year growth from 2.5% to 1%.

Levy said in the release that “advertisers will have to combine more means, to combine more data, technology, and all of that has a cost. Overall, it will be extremely difficult for them to reduce their marketing budgets.”

No word was given on if the changes would result in layoffs.

With files from Media in Canada