Publicis Divides Its U.S. Creative Arm Into 3 Geographical Zones, Each With Own Leader

Agencies will fall under West, Center and East regions

Publicis Groupe's Arthur Sadoun speaks at Cannes.
Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe Arthur Sadoun speaks on stage during the Jean-Michel Jarre x HSBC session at the Cannes Lions on June 18 in Cannes, France. Richard Bord — Getty Images for Cannes Lions
Headshot of Minda Smiley

Publicis Groupe’s ongoing restructuring, which was first announced in 2015, is further taking shape in the U.S. via the introduction of three “zones” that break up the holding company’s creative hub into three geographical brackets.

Publicis Communications, which encompasses creative networks including Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis Worldwide, BBH, Marcel, Fallon, MSLGroup and Prodigious, will now be organized under West, Center and East divisions.

Andrew Bruce will lead Publicis Communications West as CEO, where he will be responsible for the following agencies: Saatchi & Saatchi in Los Angeles in Dallas; Team One in Los Angeles and Dallas; Publicis in Seattle; Publicis Hawkeye in Dallas; and Conill in Los Angeles and Dallas. Bruce will also continue to lead Publicis Communications Canada.

Andrew Swinand, CEO of Leo Burnett North America, will take the helm of Publicis Communications Center, where he will lead Leo Burnett in Chicago and Detroit; Turner Duckworth; Fallon in Minneapolis; Martin Retail Group in Birmingham, Alabama; and Arc in Chicago.

Jem Ripley is taking on the role of Publicis Communications East CEO. He joins from consulting firm Capgemini, where he led the digital transformation business for North America. Prior to that, he spent 10 years at Publicis’ SapientRazorfish as president of the East region.

In his new role, he will oversee Publicis in New York; Saatchi & Saatchi in New York; Rokkan in New York; Saatchi X in Cincinnati, and Springdale, Arkansas; and PG One in New York and Cincinnati.

Additionally, Ripley will also lead Publicis Sapient’s marketing transformation business and clients in the U.S., which will now fall under Publicis Communications. Publicis Sapient is the holding company’s digital and technology arm.

Not all of the agencies under Publicis Communications’ purview are accounted for, including public relations firm MSL and production company Prodigious. According to Publicis Groupe, that’s because these firms house “transversal capabilities and continue to be led by their current leaders.” Creative agency network BBH will also remain under its current leadership instead of falling into one of the three regions.

The news comes shortly after Publicis Groupe experienced some executive shakeups. Last month, Nick Law left his post as global CCO of Publicis Groupe to join Apple as vice president of marcom integration.

Liz Taylor, formerly CCO at FCB Chicago, recently joined the holding company as Leo Burnett Worldwide CCO and North American creative lead of Publicis Communications.

“At a time when the alchemy of creativity and technology has never been so important, I’m thrilled to welcome back Jem, a leader who understands both worlds and how to bring them together seamlessly,” said Arthur Sadoun, CEO and chairman of Publicis Groupe, in a statement. “With the recent arrival of Liz Taylor, CCO North America, our creative leaders across our agencies, and now with Jem’s return, we are better placed than ever to bring modern creativity in all of its forms to our clients across North America.”

In addition to the regional restructuring, Publicis Groupe has established an executive committee in the U.S. following its $4.4 billion acquisition of data intelligence firm Epsilon. Chaired by Sadoun, the committee includes Tim Jones, CEO of Publicis Media Americas; Bryan Kennedy, CEO of Epsilon; Ros King, evp of global clients at Publicis Groupe; Steve King, COO of Publicis Groupe and CEO of Publicis Media; Adrian Sayliss, CFO of Publicis Groupe North America; Carla Serrano, CSO of Publicis Groupe; Liz Taylor, CCO of Publicis Communications U.S. and CCO of Leo Burnett Worldwide; and Nigel Vaz, CEO of Publicis Sapient.

“Our clients are feeling pressure from e-commerce platforms, walled gardens and fierce competition from DTC brands,” added Sadoun. “We are now uniquely positioned in the U.S. with the right model, assets and team to bring data, creativity and technology together and help clients transform and strike back. With this new U.S. leadership team in place, we will bring to our clients what they really need: personalized experiences at scale, to enable them to leapfrog the competition.”

@Minda_Smiley Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.