Is more changing of the guard afoot among the holding companies?
Campaign reckons that Interpublic CEO Michael Roth (below) has told the board he’s planning to step down (Roth is 72 and due to retire at 75) and notes that Omnicom CEO John Wren (66) has added the title of chairman which might leave the way open to appoint a new CEO, as Publicis Groupe did with Arthur Sadoun when Maurice Levy moved upstairs.
WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell (73) has been replaced by Mark Read (51) although a future on the golf course hardly beckons for Sorrell who’s back in the game with new company S4C.
Roth has run the holding company since 2005. IPG’s internal candidates are reckoned to be chief talent and strategy officer Philippe Krakowsky and McCann Worldgroup boss Harris Diamond.
Embattled MDC Partners CEO Scott Kauffman is also stepping down while Wieden+Kennedy has just appointed a new management team of Colleen DeCourcy and Tom Blessington.
As ever in these cases, there’ll be endless speculation about an outsider coming in to shake things up as all the holding companies face problems with client cutbacks, in-housing and technological disruption. But such companies are complicated beasts and previous outsiders in senior roles have not aways prospered although former insurance executive Roth has ridden out some hard times at IPG and IPG is currently performing better than its peers.
The logical thing to do in most of these cases would be to promote someone who’s been running the holding company’s most successful network but that never seems to happen. One reason being perhaps the dreaded ‘silos’ which still define such companies and the added complication that the creative networks receive most of the attention but the media operations make more money and creative and media are two rather different skills.