Despite his keen interest in sports, Mr. de Pouzilhac's lead subject at university was philosophy (he left school with a baccalaureat, the qualification given to those who do not formally graduate) and received honors from the French newspaper Le Figaro for his reflections on freedom.
In 1969, Mr. de Pouzilhac secured a job at the ad agency Publicis Conseil as a traffic assistant, a necessary stepping-stone at the time for a move into account management. A year later, he joined Doyle Dane Bernbach as an account exec before being promoted to account director.
Mr. de Pouzilhac joined Havas Conseil in 1975 as general manager of a group of French brands in the distribution and food sectors. From there, he steadily climbed the corporate ladder until 1982, when he became chairman-CEO of Havas Conseil. In 1982, aware of the increasing need to move into the international arena, Mr. de Pouzilhac took Havas' Eurocom advertising unit public, with Havas retaining a minority stake.
In 1985, Eurocom and Young & Rubicam entered into a joint venture dubbed Havas Conseil Marsteller. As European head, Mr. de Pouzilhac won the Peugeot and Philips accounts, laying a European foundation for the first Eurocom network. By 1986, Eurocom comprised some three dozen advertising agencies.
In 1989, Japanese ad agency Dentsu became a partner in HCM, which was renamed Havas Dentsu Marsteller. In 1990, Eurocom bought out both Y&R's and Dentsu's interests in HDM's European network of ad agencies.
Already the No. 1 ad agency in France, Eurocom strengthened its dominance in 1992 when it merged with the No. 3 agency, Roux, Séguéla, Cayzac & Goudard, becoming Euro RSCG Worldwide, with Mr. de Pouzilhac as chairman-CEO.
Mr. de Pouzilhac's main focus was to develop the agency's international business, in particular in the U.S., and in time the agency managed to pick up major clients, including Intel Corp. and MCI Worldcom. In 1996, in order to increase the group's competitiveness, Mr. de Pouzilhac launched Havas Advertising and restructured the group into four divisions: Euro RSCG Worldwide, Campus (later Arnold Worldwide Partners), Media Planning Group and Diversified Agencies Group.
In February 2000, Havas Advertising announced the purchase of the U.S. marketing services group Snyder Communications for $22 billion. The four Snyder companies acquired—Arnold Communications, Bounty SCA Worldwide, Brann Worldwide and Circle.com—represented areas in which Havas was eager to strengthen its offerings.
The enlarged Havas Advertising became the No. 4 advertising communications group in the world, with annual revenue of $2.2 billion.
In December 2000, in a move designed to create one of the world's top five media specialist agencies, Mr. de Pouzilhac consolidated the media departments of Havas' U.S. agencies. At the same time, Havas purchased the media department of Jordan, McGrath, Case & Partners, New York.
In 2003, Havas had revenue of $1.88 billion, down 0.6% from 2002 figures.
Born in Sète, France, July 11, 1945; hosted his own daily radio show, 1956 to 1959; left school after obtaining his baccalaureat and joined advertising agency Publicis Conseil, 1969; moved to Doyle Dane Bernbach, 1970; joined Havas Conseil, 1975; named chairman-CEO, 1982; took Eurocom subsidiary public, 1982; named CEO of Eurocom, 1989; named chairman-CEO of Euro RSCG, 1992; launched Havas Advertising as umbrella company for Euro RSCG Worldwide, Campus, Media Planning Group and Diversified Agencies Group, 1996.