Publicis Forms Board to Guide Media Operations

NEW YORK Publicis Groupe has formed a new management board aimed at improving its media operations, which include Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia.

The board will operate under the name Publicis Groupe Media. Roger Haupt, chief operating officer of Publicis Groupe, stressed that PGM will not be a new company, but rather a board that will focus on improving Publicis’ media units.

Separately, the Paris-based holding company today reported flat first-half revenue of approximately $2.3 billion compared to the same period in 2003, based on the current rate of exchange. However, excluding the impact of foreign exchange and acquisitions, the company’s organic growth in the first half was 4.5 percent, Publicis said.

The company said the negative impact of exchange rates, with the U.S. dollar down 10 percent over the past six months, sliced some $120 million from its first-half revenue.

Overall first-half net income increased 23 percent to about $98 million; net new business for the period was just shy of $2 billion, the company said.

Haupt will head the newly formed board, which will also include: Jack Klues, CEO of SMG; Steve King, CEO of ZenithOptimedia; Adrian Sayliss, global CFO of ZenithOptimedia; Frank Voris, global chief financial officer of SMG; Renetta McCann, CEO of SMG, Americas; Rich Hamilton, chief executive of ZenithOptimedia, Americas; Mark Cranmer, chief executive, SMG Europe, Mddle East, Africa; and Rishad Tobaccowala, director of the SMG Next unit.

“What PGM will not do is merge together our global networks,” Haupt said. “We remain committed to a multiple brand strategy.”

The new board will bring the thoughts of all the units’ top executives together “to explore opportunities to offer greater client benefits and to explore ways to streamline investments that support the core media product, such as non-proprietary data acquisition and technology that is not client specific,” Haupt said. The board will also evaluate ways to consolidate backroom operations to generate cost savings.

Haupt said PGM will also encourage all clients to share the services of the various business units that exist within SMG and ZenithOptimedia, including Relay Sports and Events Marketing, SMG Directory Marketing, Play, Sponsorship Intelligence and Ninah Consulting.

Klues said, “While we will never combine our buying strength in the U.S., where our companies already enjoy sufficient clout to provide optimum pricing to clients, we will explore the viability of such a move in other markets where industry practices allow and where clients have been satisfied that confidentiality has been preserved.”