In an unexpected move, Richard Pinder is leaving the top spot at Publicis Worldwide after less than two years in the company’s sole leadership position. On Wednesday, Publicis Groupe announced that Chief Operating Officer Jean-Yves Naouri would take the helm at Publicis Worldwide as executive chairman.
Pinder didn’t offer much in the way of an explanation for his sudden departure, saying in a statement, “After 25 years in the business, I have a whole new ambition to realize, and I want to focus on that now.”
The move puts Naouri in a better position to succeed Maurice Lévy as head of Publicis Groupe; Naouri has already been discussed as heir apparent.
“I have asked Jean-Yves, who has demonstrated his abilities in all tasks undertaken to date, to take on the ambitious challenge of accelerating Publicis Worldwide’s growth and speeding up its shift to digital so as to make it the most modern and best connected network in the industry,” Lévy said in a statement. “I am fully confident that Jean-Yves will succeed in this role.”
Of Pinder, Lévy said, “Richard Pinder has done an excellent job over the past five years...I would like to offer Richard my heartfelt thanks for his loyalty to the Groupe, his dedication and for the achievements he has accomplished with determination and enthusiasm.”
Pinder had been COO at Publicis Worldwide since 2006 though until 2009, he shared global leadership of the agency with then-executive chairman Oliver Fleurot. When Fleurot was named chief executive of the company's public relations, corporate communications, and events management unit, Pinder stepped into Publicis Worldwide’s lead role solo.
Before Pinder joined Publicis, he served as president of Leo Burnett Europe, a Publicis Groupe holding. He also held the positions of regional marketing director for Leo Burnett, Asia/Pacific, and managing director at Ogilvy & Mather in the U.K. Pinder’s career began at Grey, where he spent 11 years.