Havas Denies Bolloré Has CEO in Wings

NEW YORK Though Havas has issued a denial, sources said chairman Vincent Bolloré has offered the chief executive job to Fernando Rodés Vila, who has been CEO of the company’s Media Planning Group.

Havas’ current CEO is Phillppe Wahl, who was installed six months ago, shortly after Bolloré took control of the Paris-based holding company.

Both Fernando Rodés and his father Leopoldo Rodés Castane are on the Havas board of directors, and the family owns a portion of the company.

The Rodés family supported Bolloré during his successful bid to take control of Havas last summer. Elevating Fernando Rodés, sources said, would be the first step in a new Bolloré plan to place a greater emphasis on media services.

That plan, sources said, likely still includes forming an alliance between Havas and London-based media holding company Aegis Group, parent of Carat.

Shortly after taking control of Havas, Bolloré began acquiring shares in Aegis and now owns slightly more than 25 percent of the company. Under British law, that ownership stake is sufficient to veto any takeover of Aegis by an outside party.

Last fall, Bolloré had conversations with WPP Group and San Francisco-based investment firm Hellman Friedman about jointly acquiring Aegis. The parties could not come to terms and no deal materialized.

A Havas representative denied Bolloré offered Rodés Vila the Havas job. Bolloré could not be reached for comment. MPG officials in the U.S. referred questions to MPG reps in Europe, who did not return calls.