BREAKING: Two Old Men Continue Calling Each Other Names in Public

By Erik Oster 

Reacting to the recent news that WPP has begun to look for Sir Martin Sorrell‘s eventual successor, Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Lévy commented to Campaign that “Whoever succeeds [Sorrell] needs to be a good human being—not wicked and nasty, generous and not greedy, sharing and not selfish or egotistical.” 

That’s some creative use of adjectives. Lévy, by the way, is planning to retire next May. We’re fairly sure Sorrell has some opinions on his successor as well.

It’s far from the first time the two holding company CEOs have traded words, of course. The comment follows a recent exchange in which Sorrell criticized Lévy’s response to a question about the case against former JWT CEO Gustavo Martinez, suggesting it was a “one man problem” and not “representative of the industry.”

For his part, Lévy seemed to use the clarification of his response as an opportunity to criticize WPP’s handling of the situation, suggesting that Publicis Groupe would have done things quite differently. Martinez’s comments, he said, “… if true, are jaw dropping. To such an extent, that in my opinion, they can only represent the unforgivable fault of one man,” adding, “Should a case of this nature be brought to our attention in our own Groupe, we would react strongly and without delay.”

Does anyone else find this ongoing exchange more than a little sad?