Now Publicis decides it needs a chief talent officer

What exactly does a chief talent officer do? Is it (yet another) new name for the head of HR (which we used to call personnel)?

Is it the equivalent of a football team’s chief scout (often called director of football these days) who spots the next Leo Messi/David Droga in the local park/agency down the road?

Or do you just deal with shit when it hits the fan?

Well Publicis Groupe has now got one too, in the person of Emmanuel André (left), latterly international president at Omnicom’s TBWA. He joined TBWA back in 1998 when it bought GGT BDDP.

Publicis boss Arthur Sadoun says: “Emmanuel’s appointment is an important step in our ambition to become the market leader in marketing and business transformation. Bringing a CTO at the top level of our organisation was critical at a moment when our people need to embark on our transformation journey.

“Talent is the Groupe’s top priority and biggest asset. Emmanuel will have an important role to play in all the initiatives that are building our Groupe culture while attracting, rewarding, retaining and training the best and most collaborative team in the industry to serve our clients even better than before.”

André says: “Publicis Groupe clearly has the vision, the right business model and the energy to write an exciting new chapter for our industry, and they’ve placed talent and culture at the top of their priorities. I’ve spent my whole career witnessing how these things make all the difference in our business and I’m honoured to join the team.”

André is clearly a capable chap but he’ll have his work cut out as Publicis creative “talent” revolts against Sadoun’s decision to abandon all creative awards for a year.

But you do sometimes wonder if this plethora of new job handles on top of endless agency reorganisations – hunting down them dreaded silos – actually amount to much.

Can a CTO actually say to the boss, no, you can’t get rid of these people to make your numbers ‘cos they’re really talented?

To a client it must seem like rearranging the deck chairs.

You May Also Like

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.