Publicis Makes D’Arcy Move Official

NEW YORK — Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy on Monday confirmed that he plans to merge D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles into other holding-company units, bringing the company’s global agency networks to down to three.

The demise of the 96-year-old brand had been widely predicted as the Paris-based holding company’s $3 billion acquisition of Bcom3 neared consummation [Adweek, Sept. 23]. The deal closed Sept. 24.

D’Arcy’s client roster is in the process of being shifted to Publicis’ remaining global networks, Publicis Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide and Leo Burnett Worldwide. [See Publicis Joins P&G Roster for more.]

Questions about the future of D’Arcy’s three-pronged, global executive leadership have only been partially addressed.

Susan Gianinno, president and chief branding officer of D’Arcy Worldwide, has been named chairman and CEO of Publicis in the U.S. She reports to Levy.

D’Arcy’s other two top executives — president and worldwide CEO John Farrell and president, chief creative officer worldwide Lee Garfinkel — have been offered senior positions within Publicis Worldwide. Farrell would be president, CEO of the specialist advertising and marketing services sector of Publicis Groupe while Garfinkel has been asked to become worldwide creative director for Publicis Worldwide. Sources said neither man has yet accepted those positions. Farrell and Garfinkel could not immediately be reached for comment.

In a statement, Levy told employees, “Mergers always create issues that must be resolved in order to realize the full potential of the opportunities they promise. We intend to bring the full weight of our best management to resolve those issues rapidly, and on the model of the Saatchi & Saatchi integration through which not a single client was lost.”

Publicis Groupe SA president and COO Roger Haupt will manage media duties with a staff of leaders that includes Jack Klues, chairman and CEO of Starcom MediaVest and John Perriss, CEO of Zenith Optimedia Group.

Haupt will also take on the chairman title of a new agency being formed out of D’Arcy Detroit and D’Arcy Martin (field marketing for GM) as a division of Leo Burnett to service General Motors, according to an internal memo he sent to employees. The as yet unnamed, full-service agency will be based in Detroit and GM “pushed back in all of the right places in order to guarantee that their organization, and ours, did the hard work in preparing this venture for success,” the memo states.

Patrick Sherwood, who was CEO of D’Arcy North America based in Detroit and global account leader on GM, becomes president and CEO of the new agency, reporting to Haupt. Sherwood, who was a member of the D’Arcy Worldwide Board, will join Leo Burnett’s global operations committee.

His creative partner, Gary Topolewski, becomes global chief creative officer of the new agency reporting to Sherwood.

Publicis also said that it has promoted Rick Bendel to chief operating officer of Publicis Worldwide. Bendel was chairman of Publicis’s U.K. and Scandinavian operations.

“We are convinced that we have identified the optimal organization and best people to make our strategy a success,” Levy’s statement said. “We have now made those decisions and can rapidly implement them.”

It was not yet clear exactly where D’Arcy clients, which include Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, Roche, Capitol One, General Motors, Heineken and General Mills, will be parceled out among the agency networks.

The fate of at least one global D’Arcy client, Ernst & Young, has been decided. The estimated $50 million account is following Gianinno to her new agency, said Jim Speros, chief marketing officer at the New York client.

See Publicis Joins P&G Roster