Richard Pinder out, Jean-Yves Naouri up at Publicis

Yesterday we had Publicis Worldwide COO Richard Pinder talking confidently about the agency’s prospects as it set to to buy the rest of Publicis Graphics in the Middle East, today the British executive is sur son bicyclette as he is replaced as boss of Publicis Groupe’s biggest agency network by Publicis Groupe COO Jean-Yves Naouri.

Naouri is to be executive chairman of Publicis Worldwide, a step up from Pinder’s COO status presumably, and the move is being seen as further evidence that he is being groomed to take over from Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy in due course. ‘Within five years’ is the current mantra.

This is a pretty long audition period but required, apparently, for Naouri, whose background is in technology, to show that he can run a creative business.

As for the unfortunate Pinder he is said to be seeking new challenges (as you do) after 11 years at Publicis Worldwide. He was never likely to succeed Levy in the top group position and it looks as though he’s had to make room for Naouri to earn his creative agency spurs.

The latter won’t be such an easy task. Publicis Worldwide is certainly big but it’s still heavily dependent on French-based clients like L’Oreal, Renault and Pernod-Ricard.

Another recent sign that the restless Levy thinks it’s time the agency upped its game is the replacement of London CEO Neil Simpson with Karen Buchanan from The Red Brick Road. Publicis in London is still struggling to recover fully from the loss of the £50m Asda account a few years ago.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.