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Arnold Names Andrew Benett CEO

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Hiring a senior executive to oversee integration and subsequent operations is not out of the question, though Benett stressed: "I genuinely have no intention to clean house or make meaningful changes" among existing managers.

"There's a great team in place," he said. "I'm impressed with the talent here."

That said, he might add to the management ranks, "bringing on impact players" in areas like brand engagement and planning.

Benett said Paris-based Havas is committed to growing Arnold; he denied that Euro RSCG would ultimately absorb its sister shop's brand and operations. "It wouldn't make sense for us," he said. "It's still our second network and there's no value or reason to subsume it under Euro RSCG."

Jones added: "If you look at one of the most successful and exciting areas of growth in our industry over the past few years, it has been the success of the global micro-network -- from BBH to Wieden to Fallon to Mother -- so we have big ambitions and aspirations."

Even so, Arnold has grown somewhat less autonomous of late. A year ago, that agency and all Havas creative units -- including digital, design and marketing shops -- were realigned to report to Jones as part of an umbrella group called Havas Worldwide. Those shops represent roughly 70 percent of Havas' annual global revenue. The other 30 percent comes from Havas Media, which includes MPG.

Benett moves to Boston this summer. He said Kelly would remain "extremely involved" in operations as vice chairman, continuing to work on various client businesses and prospecting for new accounts.

Kelly, 53, is known to have strong ties to key clients at Fidelity, Hershey and McDonald's, among others, but he declined to say which assignments he works on day to day.

"I'm genuinely excited about it," he said of Benett's arrival. "He's a great CEO and he also has the digital and global skills that are important to our company."