Arthur Sadoun Calls Publicis Groupe ‘a Platform’ as Maurice Levy Gets Even Richer

By Patrick Coffee 

Gotta give Arthur Sadoun some credit. Like his predecessor Maurice Levy, he knows how to make fun of himself and his ridiculous French accent.

It’s a new day at Publicis, and incoming CEO Sadoun started things off with a very long video about his vision for the future.

Here it is in case you have 9 minutes to spare.


So what’s changing at Publicis? Not a whole lot, it seems.

Sadoun does acknowledge that “transformation”—which must be the European version of “disruption”—is a meaningless buzzword. But the big message here is that he’s doubling down on the Power of One umbrella group approach. “Find efficiencies,” as we all know, means “we can do it cheaper.”

He’s also naming 100 “client leaders” and regional executives. This sounds a lot like what Havas just did, doesn’t it? On culture, it’s three words: BREAK. BOLD. BUILD.

Sadoun explains the definition of “platform” around the 7:35 point, noting that it’s a French word so it can mean whatever the hell he wants.

In other news, did you think Levy was actually ceding authority to Sadoun? LOL.

As reported this morning by Reuters, the outgoing CEO will make more money as chairman—though still nowhere near as much as Sir Martin. Publicis says that he’s still playing an “active role in supporting the transition,” but Reuters notes that advisors told stockholders to vote against Levy’s pay package, calling it “excessive.” Their writeup also implies that the title change is simply a formality and that Levy, not Sadoun, will remain top dog at Publicis Groupe.

But it’s always about who you know, isn’t it?

One current Publicis employee tells us today that things still work that way in the States: “Success at Publicis is achieved via membership in one executive’s fraternity/ sorority of asskissers, rather than actual talent. It accounts for the eye-wateringly high turnover rate.”

Go team!