Online Exclusive: Report From Cannes

HAVAS' JACQUES SEGUELA PRAISES JEAN-MARIE DRU

Tells Cannes Reporters 'He's a French Guy and That's Important'

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CANNES, France (AdAge.com) -- Breaking days of silence and mystery surrounding changes at Havas, management is reaching out to employees and media in an effort to lessen anxiety and quiet endless speculation.
Havas board member Jacques Seguela praised Jean-Marie Dru as a 'French guy and for me that's important. He is one of the 10 best advertising executives in the world.'
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Richard Colker, the Havas director named interim chairman-CEO on June 21, spoke to Havas employees around the world this afternoon from France on an internal Webcast, according to a knowledgeable executive.

Jacques Seguela
Jacques Seguela, a board member, longtime Havas executive and one of France's best-known creative directors, spoke to a group of reporters here this morning, following a seminar he co-hosted with Donald Gunn, publisher of The Gunn Report.

In a conference room in the Majestic hotel, Mr. Seguela graciously responded in animated but slightly broken English to Italian, French, Canadian and U.S. reporters, all of whom eagerly pelted him with questions about the company. Mr. Sequela, who has been with Havas for decades, was one of the three Havas directors appointed the other day to back Mr. Colker after Alain de Pouzilhac resigned. Jean-Marie Dru, president-CEO of Omnicom Group's TBWA Worldwide, is the leading candidate to replace Mr. de Pouzilhac and is negotiating his departure from TBWA.

French and American lovers
Pressed by reporters on whether Mr. Dru had been offered the job, Mr. Seguela refused to answer directly. Instead, he made a comparison between French and American lovers. Americans are far more direct, he said. They'll pick up a daisy, pluck the petals, wondering, "She loves me, she loves me not." A Frenchman will pick up a daisy, pluck petals one by one, saying, "She loves me, she loves me more, she loves me passionately." Then he'll take the flower and press it in a book.

"The Frenchman lets it be known he wants her," Mr. Seguela said. "By the evening, she'll be in bed with him."

Of Mr. Dru he said, "It is up to him now." His audience of reporters roared with laughter.

’He’s a French guy’
Mr. Seguela did say he would like Mr. Dru to come. "He's a French guy and for me that's important. He is one of the 10 best advertising executives in the world. Ten years ago he came to TBWA and it was nothing. But today it is known for its creativity."

He noted that at this year's festival, France beat England in Lions in the print category, a first in many years. TBWA in Paris won the Grand Prix in print. "He is a great manager with a creative heart," he continued. "He is a good friend of mine. We've known each other for 30 years."

Havas, he said, needs a CEO who "is in love with America and also knows all the great American brands," noting that North America is a market where Havas must grow.

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