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Is number two Naouri on his way out at Publicis Groupe?

We wrote earlier that the failure of the Omnicom/Publicis Groupe merger might result in the accelerated passage of some Omnicom types as the oldies – Omnicom’s John Wren and, on the other side, Publicis Groupe’s Maurice Levy – had rather spectacularly failed to pull off their life-changing deal.

images-4Now it seems, according to pretty good sources in Paris, that PG COO and executive chairman of Publicis Worldwide, PG’s flagship agency, Jean Yves Naouri (left) is going to be sur la bicyclette.

Naouri, who has been with PG for about 20 years, emerged a few years ago as Levy’s likely successor as PG boss. But this is something of a poisoned chalice as Levy isn’t about to quit yet, or appoint a guaranteed successor.

The likelihood is that Levy still wants to pull off a big deal before he eventually steps down, when he will still remain an important member of the French business establishment. But Naouri’s role in this process seems to have been eliminated.

Was he an advocate of the Omnicom/Publicis deal? Hard to see why, as it pushed him down the pecking order. Has he tired of the immoveable Maurice?

Founder’s daughter and big shareholder Elizabeth Badinter still calls the important shots at PG. It seems as though she’s still backing Levy. But losing Naouri, a businessman rather than an adman, won’t look good.

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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.
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