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Haupt to Step Down as Publicis Groupe President, COO

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CHICAGO Publicis Groupe said its president and chief operating officer Roger Haupt is stepping down from those posts and the holding company's management board.

He will remain chairman of Publicis Groupe Media and will continue to act as a consultant to Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO Maurice Levy.

In a letter to the company, Haupt, 57, said he planned to progressively relinquish his management duties with the company. Haupt was named president and chief operating officer of the Paris-based holding company in September 2002, when Publicis Groupe bought Haupt-run Bcom3 Group, then parent company of Leo Burnett and D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. (The latter was shut down soon after the acquisition.)

"The Bcom3 Group has been warmly welcomed into the Publicis family," wrote Haupt in a letter to the board. "It is a family in which I am pleased to say I will play a continuing, albeit significantly reduced, role."

Haupt will continue to head the Publicis Groupe Media board, which was formed in September to oversee the holding company's media operations, which include Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia.

There are no immediate plans to fill Haupt's presidential or coo positions, said a holding company representative. No timetable was given for Haupt's departure.

Concurrently, Starcom MediaVest Group CEO Jack Klues will join Publicis Groupe's management board, which also includes Levy, Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts, Publicis Worldwide evp Bertrand Siguier and general secretary Claudine Bienaime. Klues' appointment is effective on Jan. 1, 2005.

"It is a great pleasure to welcome Jack Klues as a member of the management board," said Levy in a statement. "We will benefit tremendously at a time when the importance of media has never been greater, when the holistic approach is a critical strategic objective for us and for our clients, and when Jack's hands-on experience and comprehensive knowledge of the American marketplace can guide the management board and the group as a whole."