Publicis Worldwide, MSLGroup Shuffle Executives

By Patrick Coffee 

Today Maurice Levy made a couple of changes atop two of his holding company’s biggest properties: Publicis Worldwide and the massive global PR monster known as MSLGroup.

Arthur Sadoun, who manages to combine “charm charisma and arrogance in a single package” (not our words) will add oversight of the MSL organization to his current role as President of the Publicis Worldwide Network. After earning the promotion to president in late 2013, he also succeeded Jean-Yves Naouri, formerly COO of Publicis Groupe, in the same shakeup that merged Razorfish and Rosetta in 2014. (Sadoun spent several years within the TBWA organization before joining Levy’s company in 2006 to run Publicis Conseil.)

The other big change in this announcement: Olivier Fleurot, global CEO of MSLGroup, will now serve as SVP of Publicis Groupe, handling “communications, corporate social responsibility, real estate, insurance and cross-disciplinary programs.”

From Fleurot’s internal memo:

“Today I want to share two important and exciting pieces of news with you. Maurice Lévy has decided to ask Arthur Sadoun, who has been President of Publicis Worldwide for the last 18 months, to also take responsibility for MSLGROUP’s future development.  Additionally, he has asked me to move to a corporate role, as Senior Vice President, Communication and Administration, at Publicis Groupe.  I will take care of Communication, Corporate Social Responsibility, Insurance, Real Estate and the Altair project.”

Notoriously press-shy” Sadoun is generally seen to be the man who will replace Levy when he steps down in 2017. He recently explained the agency’s biggest challenges to Digiday, saying:

“We don’t have a problem today with recruiting. But it’s with retaining. They’re all going to platforms. The young generation doesn’t want to wait five years before being in charge.”

We don’t see that fact changing anytime soon.

Both MSLGroup and Publicis Worldwide will now report to Mr Sadoun. No word at the moment on who will replace Fleurot, who spent several years as executive chairman of Publicis Worldwide in the late 90’s.

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