Publicis top board says CEO Sadoun’s on the right track

Publicis Groupe has seen the odd spot of turmoil over the years as various execs vied to succeed CEO Maurice Levy but supervisory board chairman Levy and biggest shareholder Elizabeth Badinter has expressed satisfaction with its new leadership by re-apppointing CEO Arthur Sadoun and Publicis Media boss Steve King to its management board for another four years.

So, unusually perhaps, it’s “steady as she goes” at Publicis or, possibly, “a sprint to the future.”

Levy (below) says the board is “is very pleased with this outstanding transition and with the Groupe’s remarkably successful management succession. Great emphasis has been placed on Arthur Sadoun’s personality, and on the hard work and energy that has been put into accelerating Publicis Groupe’s transformation. The management team he has put together and the enhanced role of Steve King by his side inspire the Board members with great confidence regarding the successful implementation of the ‘Sprint to the Future’ plan.”

Is the reference to Sadoun’s personality a veiled warning to tone things down a bit? Probably pointless trying to read that tea leaf.

Sadoun says, minding his p’s and q’s: “I would like to thank the Supervisory Board for its confidence and support, and in particular Elisabeth Badinter and Maurice Lévy. Succeeding the latter at the helm of the Groupe founded by Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet is both an honor and a challenge, even more so given the changes our industry is facing that are without precedent. We have accomplished a lot in these last 18 months to be able to bring our clients a model that will make them win in the future.”

Sadoun and King’s pay packages remain unchanged.

Publicis hit a hiccup in the US with its health business in its latest numbers but there seems to be an air of confidence in its future. Its big agency brands seem to have been sidelined to a degree with the Groupe increasingly pitching as a group. But it has made some key hires including Annette King from Ogilvy as its UK group CEO and Nick Law from IPG’s R/GA as global CCO. New business has been pretty reasonable although with any big win these days you do wonder if the agency income is as generous as in days of yore.

Cost cutting and consolidation are big parts of Sadoun’s strategy, masked by his go-go rhetoric. But that’s corporate life these days.

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