Arthur Sadoun, a rising star at Publicis, has been named CEO of the global agency.
This summer rumors circulated that Sadoun, the CEO of Publicis France who was named worldwide managing director in 2011, was in line for a promotion to chief executive. When his role was expanded two years ago, he was given added additional responsibilities for Publicis operations in Western Europe as an interim step in learning more about the agency outside its French home base.
Now that Sadoun's been given top responsibility for Publicis Groupe's namesake agency, which supplies $1.2 billion of the holding company's $8 billion in revenue, the charismatic exec may be a contender for the CEO job at Publicis Omnicom Group, post-merger. Publicis chief Maurice Lévy, 71, is sharing top leadership of the combined entity for a 30-month integration period with Omnicom’s John Wren. Wren then takes over but has said he plans to relinquish the sole CEO role in five years when he turns 65.
As CEO, Sadoun also is joining Publicis Groupe’s executive committee.
Lévy said Sadoun will take over from global executive chairman Jean-Yves Naouri, who's also COO at the parent company.
“The appointment comes as a natural step in Arthur’s career path within our groupe,” Lévy said, in a statement. “He joined us as chairman of Publicis Conseil, which he modernized while sustaining its growth and improving its creative work. Arthur also applied his vision and talents to Publicis Worldwide’s activities in France.”
Now speculation centers on the future role of Naouri as executives at Publicis and Omnicom jockey for position at the combined company.
“He’s done a great job in shared services at Publicis Groupe,” said a source. “So, will he get the job to manage shared services across the two merged companies? Or will he say ‘I wanted the big job and now it looks like I won’t get it so I’m going to leave?’ ”
Sadoun assumed his Publicis France role in January 2009. He joined the network in late 2006 as CEO of Publicis Conseil, where his new business development efforts help land accounts like BNP Paribas, Capgemini, Intermarché, Axa Monde, Yoplait, Luxottica and Orange.
Before Publicis, Sadoun was CEO of TBWA\Paris. He entered advertising at the age of 21 when the Frenchman moved to Chile and started an agency that was later sold to BBDO.