What’s going on at Publicis Groupe’s DigitasLBi?

Last year Publicis Groupe bought international digital agency LBi for $540m and, once the dust had settled, decided to merge it with Digitas, the Boston-based digital operation it bought in 2006 for a rather more eye-watering $1.3bn.

Which made you think: why does it need LBi and Digitas if the two agencies do more or less the same thing? Or had LBi turned out to be not quite the bargain PG though it was? There are already reports of client conflict problems in the US; between General Motors and Volvo for example.

Now PG has replaced New York-based DigitasLBi boss Colin Kinsella with Chicago regional president Tony Weisman (left) while at the same time claiming Kinsella has done a great job and everything at the agency is hunky-dory.

Weisman says of Kinsella: “Under Colin’s leadership, Digitas has been on a business trajectory. We welcomed 20+ new clients, we invested in new product platforms such as BrandLIVE. We have dreamt and delivered digitally-led, integrated brand solutions that have earned us 80+ industry awards including two Cannes Grand Prix.”

Well that all sounds pretty good so why is Kinsella looking for a new job, supposedly within PG?

PG grand fromage Maurice Levy was rather less fulsome about Kinsella: “I am grateful to Colin for the great job he did as CEO of Digitas North America, and wish him the best of luck,” he said. Maybe something got lost in translation.

This could just be post-merger tidying up of course but it all seems to be happening rather suddenly and, in Kinsella’s case, dramatically. Maybe Levy is clearing the decks in preparation for a merger with Interpublic (which would no doubt leave lots of other people looking for jobs too).

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