Havas chairman Vincent Bollore is planning to promote elder son Yannick (left) to replace him when he steps down later this year.
He has also promoted younger son Cyrille to be his deputy at family-owned Bollore Group, which holds the biggest stake in Havas.
Which, in a sense, is business much as before but it also says, loud and clear, that current CEO David Jones will always have a Bollore in ultimate charge; which may not please Jones too much.
Havas, under Jones, has restructured itself – dumping the Euro RSCG brand in favour of Havas Worldwide and rebranding its media operations as Havas Media – and generally kept its end up pretty well in a world increasingly dominated by much larger entities: WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, Interpublic (to an extent) and the newly hatched Aegis/Dentsu (in whatever order you like).
It is, though, increasingly outgunned when it comes to big global clients and Bollore senior’s grand scheme of combining Aegis (in which he used to be the biggest shareholder) with Havas was scuppered when the quoted Aegis (which owns Carat, Vizeum and Isobar) grew faster than Havas and therefore became too expensive. Bollore chose to take the money, which means that both Havas and his private Bollore Group are financially secure (should he choose to spend his money on them). But that doesn’t help Jones necessarily.
Havas, which is also a quoted company, could provide a juicy acquisition for somebody at about £2bn (it’s currently valued at €1.8bn) although Bollore Group’s 37 per cent stake would clearly be an impediment.
But money talks, unless Bollore plans to take the agency group private. As for Jones (left), he’s still a young shaver at 46, certainly in comparison to his venerable rivals WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell, Omnicom’s John Wren and PG’s Levy.
Does he see his future running a bigger ad group – WPP perhaps when Sorrell, 68, steps down – or something else? A media group perhaps?
Jones is also interested in politics and good works, most notably with his One Young World charity. Whatever his plans are, and he may not have mapped out anything yet, he’s hardly likely to want to continue for ever as consiglieri to the Bollore family.
As Malcom Forbes Junior once said… “Personally, I see nothing wrong with nepotism.” Anyway, David can always go back to taking care of his locker.