Sorrell and Levy go head to head in the global networking stakes

WPP CEO Lord Sorrell (whoops, getting ahead of ourselves), Sir Martin Sorrell rather, was hobknobbing with 170 guests including bosses at Rolls-Royce and Unilever at the state banquet for president Barack Obama at Buckingham Palace the other night.

Meanwhile in Paris Publicis Groupe boss Maurice Levy was lording it at the eG8, the confab of leading tecchies that he organised at short notice for publicity-hungry French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Levy (they don’t dish out titles in republican France but if they did he would probably have several) managed to rustle up many of the tech world’s big names including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Rupert Murdoch who vigorously promoted News Corporation’s recent foray into education.

In the networking stakes I guess this means a win for Levy (one doubts that WPP organised the Obama banquet) although it wouldn’t be surprising if Sorrell, despite his oft-expressed irritation at the Frenchman, legged it promptly to Paris to whisper in the ears of the internet media magnates.

But some of the gloss was taken off the eG8 when Sarkozy rather spoilt things by insisting that the internet be regulated and then asking the assembled whizzes to come up with a plan for it, which they completely failed to do (probably because they didn’t want to).

These politicians, always spoiling things.

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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.