Don’t worry, Publicis Groupe’s four-year-old VivaKi division, which includes Digitas, Razorfish, Starcom MediaVest Group ZenithOptimedia and most recently LBi, will remain within the fold but not so attached at the hip. The world’s third-largest agency holding company has announced that VivaKi will become a separate business unit, still reporting to Publicis Groupe boss Maurice Levy, but one that will now be opened to all PG agencies, in turn extending the offerings of the Nerve Center, including AOD and the Pool, to clients of Publicis Groupe and ultimately to clients outside of the Groupe.
Says Levy in a statement, “The Nerve Center has been one of the most successful accomplishments of VivaKi. Still the only operation of its kind in our industry, it brings strategic innovations to life by leveraging the collective influence of its agencies. It allows us to create world class offerings in the Center rather than building duplicate capabilities inside each agency. Efficient innovation is its hallmark. All CEOs and leaders will immediately engage VivaKi to leverage its products and services, and to create blueprints for new tools and technologies that will make us stronger, more efficient and more imaginative partners to our clients.”
As far as leadership goes, VivaKi CEO Jack Klues is phasing out of his position at the agency after 35 years as he plans to retire at the end of this year (can’t blame him), though he will stay on through the first half of 2013 to ease the transition. The new VivaKi unit’s executive will consist of SMG CEO Laura Desmond, Razorfish CEO Bob Lord, current VivaKi CFO Frank Voris and ZenithOptimedia’s chief exec, Steve King.