Bolloré Gains Seats on Havas' Board

PARIS Investor Vincent Bolloré has won four seats on Havas’ board of directors, over the objections of senior management, in a much-anticipated showdown.

Gaining seats at a shareholders meeting here today were Bolloré (by a 51 percent vote) as well as three of his associates: Thierry Marraud, Marc Bebon and Cedric de Bailliencourt.

Bolloré owns more than 20 percent of Havas and has insisted that he has no immediate intention of attempting to gain control of the company, which owns Arnold, Euro RSCG and Media Planning Group.

Embattled Havas CEO Alain de Pouzilhac, who expended considerable energy over the last few months in an effort to keep Bolloré off the board, said, “Shareholder democracy had functioned,” adding that he would “act accordingly.”

He did not expand on that statement, leading many of those present to speculate about what his next move might be.

“Given that he had placed so much importance on keeping Bolloré off the board, I don’t see what he can do now but resign,” said one shareholder who requested anonymity. “It’s not as if he can carry on as normal and accompany his teams to major pitches. Who’s going to take him seriously?”

After the meeting, Bolloré, who claimed not to want de Pouzilhac’s resignation, declared: “If he leaves, Havas will continue.”

This story updates an item posted earlier today with reaction from the shareholders meeting.