Publicis Changes Rules so Lévy Can Stay on Board

Age limit for directors raised from 70 to 75

Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO Maurice Lévy won’t be pushed into retirement just yet. On Tuesday, a vote at the Publicis Groupe’s annual general shareholders’ meeting in Paris approved a measure to raise the age limit for members of the company’s board of directors from 70 to 75. This move will allow Lévy, who celebrated his 69th birthday in February, to retain his position after his term on the board ends in December 2011.

This isn't the first time that the company has altered its policies to keep Lévy on the board; ten years ago, the age limit was 65. By 2007, the year Lévy hit that milestone, the retirement age had been bumped up to 70.

This move will allow Lévy to usher in a new guard at the company where he has served as chairman and CEO since 1987. When Lévy’s long reign at the Groupe finally comes to an end, Jean-Yves Naouri, chief executive chairman of Publicis Worldwide, is seen as a favorite to succeed Lévy in the Publicis top spot.

It’s doubtful any Publicis shareholders will complain about septuagenarians sitting on the company’s board following the dividend announcement at the annual meeting. Shareholders will receive a dividend of .70 euro per share, which will take effect on July 5. This is a bump up for Publicis investors, who has seen their dividend stay stagnant at .60 euro per share for the last few years.