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Saatchi Global CEO Robert Senior to Step Down

U.K. Saatchi Leader Magnus Djaba Takes Global Role

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Robert Senior, global CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, will step down from his role in three months, but will continue to serve as an adviser to Publicis Communications CEO Arthur Sadoun throughout the rest of the year.

Robert Senior
Robert Senior

Magnus Djaba, U.K. CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon, will succeed Mr. Senior as global president of the agency, while continuing to serve as chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi London. His title is global president of Saatchi rather than CEO, which is part of a Publicis-wide shift toward president titles for global roles and CEO titles for countries or regions.

Mr. Djaba will work closely with Kate Stanners, worldwide chief creative officer and chairwoman of Saatchi, and David Hackworthy, worldwide chief strategy officer.

In an internal note, Mr. Sadoun said that Mr. Senior decided to "leave the network to pursue some personal ambitions."

Magnus Djaba
Magnus Djaba Credit: Publicis Groupe

"I've had the pleasure of working with Robert for many years and would like to deeply thank him for the drive, dedication and determination he has brought to both Saatchi & Saatchi and Publicis Communications," he added in the emailed note.

Mr. Senior took over as worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi from Kevin Roberts in January 2015 in a major shift to a new generation of management, to be led by former Europe head Mr. Senior along with former Asia head Chris Foster as chief operating officer. (Mr. Foster moved into a global client role for Publicis Groupe a few months later). Mr. Roberts remained as chairman and head coach of Publicis Groupe, but had to resign last summer in the wake of controversial comments about gender diversity.

There will be widespread speculation over what Mr. Senior will do next. He made his name in the U.K. ad market when he co-founded Fallon London in 1998, later merging it with Saatchi London and becoming Saatchi's CEO for Europe in 2007. When he took over the global job last year, he said he would spend split his time between Saatchi's London and New York offices.

Justin Billingsley, COO of Publicis Communications in Europe, will take on Mr. Senior's duties for Publicis Communications in the U.K. and oversee the U.K. leadership team.

The news follows on the heels of Publicis' Leo Burnett hiring Andrew Swinand, entrepreneur and former president of sibling Starcom Mediavest Group, to serve as North American CEO. Mr. Swinand assumed responsibilities for North American business that had been handled by Rich Stoddart since February, when Mr. Stoddart was named CEO of Leo Burnett Worldwide.

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