Saatchi & Saatchi is shifting its global headquarters from London to New York as it becomes part of a Paris-based entity that will be called Publicis Groupe S.A., sources said.
Behind the shift is the pending arrival here of two London-based executives: worldwide creative director Bob Isherwood and chairman international Alan Bishop. Isherwood arrives this week; Bishop, who focuses on new-business development, is expected by the end of the month, sources said.
Although they're global players who travel frequently, Isherwood and Bishop have been based in London, the agency's ancestral home. But with the dissolution of Saatchi's holding company—Saatchi & Saatchi plc—and its transformation into a unit of a French company, it's logical that they will work out of New York, the largest office in Saatchi's network.
"Once you think about it," one source said, citing the preponderance of U.S-based global clients, "[these functions] should have been in America all the time."
Meanwhile, Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi plc, plans to spend more time in New York and is contemplating a broader role within the Publicis network, sources said.
One source indicated that Roberts had talked to Publicis CEO Maurice Lévy about overseeing not only Saatchi but Publicis' other major ad agencies in the U.S.: Fallon and Publicis & Hal Riney. Roberts and Lévy could not be reached, but sources said such a role would make sense.
"He's going to be focusing a lot of attention on the U.S. ... so that wouldn't surprise me," a source said.
Still, Pat Fallon and Hal Riney sold their agencies to Publicis in part because they report directly to Lévy and can run their agencies as they see fit. Whether a new reporting structure would fly in the face of these arrangements is unclear. Fallon declined comment, and Riney could not be reached.
Another executive from Saat-chi's parent company, chairman Bob Seelert, is taking a less prominent role in the new Publicis Groupe. Seelert, who was Saatchi's conduit to the investment community, will serve on Publicis Groupe's advisory board.
Publicis' $1.9 billion acquisition of Saatchi will be completed Sept. 12, when shares of the combined entity start trading in Paris and New York. Publicis shareholders approved the deal last week, following Saatchi's approval on Aug. 16.