Publicis Groupe names Levy successor after years of speculation

After years of speculation on who would succeed Maurice Levy at the head of Publicis Groupe, Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Worldwide has been confirmed as the new CEO and chairman of the French-based communications giant.

Arthur Sadoun has been named the successor to Maurice Levy at Publicis Groupe.

Arthur Sadoun has been named as Maurice Levy’s successor at Publicis Groupe

Sadoun becomes just the third CEO of the parent company in its 90 year history and the move comes after several years of searching for Levy’s successor.

The executive, who has held a number of roles within Publicis Groupe, will take the reins of the world’s third largest communications holding company by revenue, with major agencies including Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, Marcel, Starcom and Zenith.

Sadoun will take on the role from June 1, while Levy will continue his influence after being named as chairman of the supervisory board.

The announcement of the new CEO and chairman was one of two senior executive appointments revealed by Publicis.

Publicis Media CEO Steve King has also being named to the management board.

Publicis Media boss Steve King named to the Publicis Group management board

Publicis Media boss Steve King named to the Publicis Group management board

Levy said handing the flame of the company, first held by founder Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, who launched the business in 1926, had been a carefully considered decision.

“I am extremely happy with this choice, which is the most appropriate and judicious for the future of our Groupe, and congratulate Arthur warmly,” Levy said.

“It’s not just any choice, it’s a measured and well thought out choice that opens new doors for the future of our amazing Groupe. I have known Arthur for many years. We have worked very closely together. He is a seasoned professional with an inspiring vision of our industry and of our clients’ needs. He knows them well, he understands them well and he knows how to deliver the solutions and services they need to grow, develop and transform by selecting the best talent.

“He has the intelligence, the energy and the passion necessary to master our trade in a connected world that is changing and evolving constantly. He’s also a man with admirable human qualities. It is all this together that will drive him, with the help of his team, to lead the Groupe on the path to success and to rise above any obstacle.”

Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet founded Publicis in 1926.

Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet founded Publicis in 1926.

Elisabeth Badinter, current chair of the supervisory board and president of the nominating  committee, said analysis showed there was no need to search externally for the company’s new leader.

“The highly respected professional qualities of Arthur Sadoun, his unique understanding of clients and their needs, his accomplishments both during his time at Publicis Groupe and before, and his human qualities, all make him the prime candidate,” Badinter said.

She said it was important that Levy’s experience over 30 years at the helm of Publicis not be abandoned.

“Succession is never an easy task and this is the reason why I very much insisted that Maurice Lévy remain at our side to provide Arthur Sadoun with guidance in and recommendations for his difficult task.”

Sadoun said he was approaching the role with confidence and a desire to continue the success of the business that Levy had been instrumental in.

“Leading the company founded by visionary Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet and made into a global communications leader by Maurice Lévy is an immense honour and an incredible challenge,” Sadoun said.

“A challenge that I’ll meet with open arms, thanks to the continued contribution of Maurice’s wisdom and experience, and the support of Steve King, the Management Board and the talented individuals who make up Publicis Groupe.”


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