Publicis Groupe Creative Chief Arthur Sadoun To Succeed Maurice Levy In June

mlPublicis Groupe’s creative chief, Arthur Sadoun, will succeed Maurice Levy as its chairman and CEO, the holding company announced Thursday. Sadoun will step into the role June 1 and Levy will transition to chairman of the company’s supervisory board.

Publicis Media CEO Steve King will also join the Publicis Groupe Management Board.

Sadoun’s appointment comes after years of speculation over who would replace the iconic 74-year-old Levy, who is credited with expanding Publicis from a French company to one of the largest global advertising players.

Although Sadoun is a creative executive, The Wall Street Journal reports that he is credited with bringing more digital expertise to Publicis’ creative agencies. And Publicis’ recent appointment of former VivaKi Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Rishad Tobaccowala to chief revenue officer shows its desire to move more digital strength up in its ranks.

“I think [Sadoun’s] background was probably less important than [his] fit as a leader of the company,” Pivotal analyst Brian Wieser told AdExchanger.

Sadoun enters the top seat following a few years of upheaval.

Publicis Groupe suffered a major talent exodus after disbanding its trading desk, VivaKi, in 2014. Amid the kerfuffle, the group lost major media accounts including Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Walmart and Mondelez, leading to a slew of poor quarterly earnings results. Most recently, Publicis merged SapientNitro with Razorfish to eliminate duplicative capabilities.

But Wieser added in a research note that Publicis has been on “something of a tear lately” with new account wins across creative and media for brands such as Kellogg’s Special K, HSBC, KFC, Fiat Chrysler and Mars.

However, the dust hasn’t quite settled at Publicis yet.

“Publicis is not yet out of the woods with respect to their restructuring, and this could make near-term growth lumpy,” he wrote. “Specifically, the company is still undergoing fairly significant changes at its media agency group and at its creative agencies.”

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