Two become one at Publicis as board changes keep role for Lévy til 2025

Publicis Groupe’s idiosyncratic structure, which includes a supervisory board as well as a management board, will be smoothed out ahead of former CEO Maurice Lévy’s mandate ends next year.

The plan will be put to a shareholder vote at the AGM on 29th May but it looks like from now on there will be just one board of directors. Arthur Sadoun will retain his role as chairman and CEO, while Lévy – currently chair of the supervisory board – takes an advisory role as chairman emeritus.

The partnership between Sadoun and Lévy has worked well since Sadoun took over as CEO and chairman seven years ago. At that time, Publicis was overshadowed by WPP and the US groups, but it’s now outperforming those rivals and is by far the biggest ad holding company by market value, and the second biggest by revenue.

Maurice Lévy said: “Publicis Groupe has a long history of anticipating change and transforming itself to face the future. The primary responsibility of any board is to ensure that a company has both the governance structure and the teams it needs to lead it forward. With this in mind, I proposed changing the governance of the Groupe in order to put in place a Board of Directors, with Arthur Sadoun as Chairman and CEO.”

Arthur Sadoun said: “The aim of this change in governance is simple: to preserve the driving forces behind the Groupe’s success and maintain the model that has made Publicis our industry’s most valuable company in terms of market capitalization. It will also allow us to continue the duo that we have formed with Maurice Lévy since 2017, which has seen Publicis extract itself from the pack and emerge as a clear leader in our sector.”

Will 82 year-old Lévy stay on after 2025? He’ll undoubtedly continue as a sounding board for Sadoun, one way or another.

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