Bob Lord Takes Reins at VivaKi Digital

Razorfish CEO will also head Publicis digital strategy team

VivaKi Monday announced that Razorfish global CEO Bob Lord will oversee the Publicis Groupe division's digital offerings. His promotion comes on the heels of last week's news that Digitas global CEO Laura Lang is leaving to become CEO of Time Inc.

Lord's purview will expand to include sister VivaKi agencies Digitas, Denuo, Big Fuel, and Phonevalley, companies whose oversight is included in Lang's responsibilities. Lang starts at Time Jan. 1. 

Publicis also announced that Lord will head a "Digital Transformation Team," a group of Publicis executives aimed at developing a strategy for strengthening the digital capabilities of all of Publicis' agencies, including those outside of VivaKi.

Does that mean the holding company is looking to combine sibling agencies? "No, quite the opposite," said Lord. "Razorfish has a very strong position in this market where the core of its offering comes from technology and experience. Big Fuel comes from a standpoint of social. Digitas comes from its core of CRM and one-to-one marketing. It’s a huge strength for the group to have those separate because I think it creates more innovation and experimentation for clients than if they were one monolith."

The team's strategy may include a focus on building products that agencies can sell to marketers on a subscription basis, said Lord, pointing to CRM 365, the technology unit spun out of Digitas in October to help clients better manage their interactions with social and mobile consumers. The idea: offerings that set up an annuity stream. "Software as a service. You pay on a monthly or quarterly basis for enablement of marketing services," said Lord.

While the search for a new Digitas global CEO will continue under Lord's supervision, VivaKi will not announce a successor until the team's strategy is completed, which should take place some time in the first quarter of 2012.

In the interim, Digitas North American CEO Colin Kinsella and international CEO Stephan Beringer will run day-to-day operations.