Publicis Names Pinder COO

CHICAGO Publicis Worldwide has appointed Leo Burnett executive Richard Pinder chief operating officer. He succeeds Rick Bendel, who has left the company.

Pinder, 42, had served as president of Burnett’s European, Middle Eastern and African operations since 2004. Chicago-based Burnett is a unit of Publicis Groupe.

In a related move, Olivier Fleurot, 54, a former CEO at The Financial Times in London, has joined Publicis Worldwide as vice chairman, tasked with overseeing its executive committee and setting worldwide strategy.

Pinder will report to Fleurot.

Burnett has no immediate plans to find a successor to Pinder, according to an agency representative. The current management team will instead report directly to worldwide CEO Tom Bernardin.

Bendel becomes group marketing director at Asda, Wal-Mart’s operating company in the United Kingdom. He had been at Publicis for 20 years.

“Personally, I will miss Rick a lot,” said Maurice Levy, CEO of the holding company, in a statement. “We developed a great complicity—great battles brought us together—and he inspired strong confidence. From the bottom of my heart, I wish him the utmost success in the new post.”

Separately, Publicis Groupe last week appointed Fabrice Fries general secretary of the company, taking over duties handled by Claudine Bienaime, who is retiring in 2007.

The holding company had a solid first half, reporting a 50 percent rise in net income to $250 million on a 10 percent revenue increase (7 percent in organic terms) to $2.67 billion [Adweek Online, July 27].

The company attributed the steep rise in income to several factors, including reduced interest charges and an improvement in tax rates.

This story corrects an earlier item with the information that Pinder and Fleurot’s appointments are at Publicis Worldwide, not the holding company parent, Publicis Groupe.