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DE POUZILHAC IS OUT AS HAVAS CHAIRMAN AND CEO

Vincent Bollore's Triumph Is Capped at Board Meeting

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CANNES, France (AdAge.com) -- Alain de Pouzilhac has resigned as chairman and CEO of French advertising company Havas, according to the company.
Vincent Bollore capped his triumph at today's board meeting.
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His responsibilities will be handled by Richard Colker, an independent director and chairman of Havas' audit committee, backed by a team of three other Havas directors, according to a company statement. These include Ed Eskandarian, Fernando Rodes and Jacques Seguela.

The group will lead Havas during during a "period of transition" prior to naming a new chairman and CEO.

Involving employees
In the release, the company said the board also decided to convene again in the near future in order to consider ways of involving Havas’ employees in the company's development by means of new equity-based schemes, such as stock-options, bonus shares or other plans.

Mr. de Pouzilhac resigned at a meeting of Havas' board this afternoon in Paris, the first such gathering of the company's management since Mr. de Pouzilhac lost a battle for board seats with rival Vincent Bollore.

Will remain on board
Mr. de Pouzilhac will remain on Havas' board and the company.

Mr. de Pouzilhac, 60, has led Havas for eight years and worked for the company for more than two decades.

Rumored successor
Mr. de Pouzilhac's successor has been rumored to be Jean-Marie Dru, chairman-CEO of Omnicom Group's TBWA Worldwide network, although a TBWA spokesman said he would not comment on rumors and speculation.

Mr. de Pouzilhac's departure from Havas comes less than one year after Mr. Bollore, well-known in France as a corporate raider and industrialist, began buying shares of Havas.

Early last fall, Mr. de Pouzilhac welcomed Mr. Bollore, describing him to analysts as someone who could potentially offer stability. But relations between the two soured later in the year over disagreements as to whether Havas should bid for Grey Global Group. Mr. Bollore did not support Mr. de Pouzilhac's plan to bid, while Mr. de Pouzilhac said that Mr. Bollore told him he would not disapprove of the deal, but then told others that he was against the idea. Rival WPP Group ulitimately acquired Grey Global.

Deteriorating relations
Throughout 2005, while he continued to buy more Havas shares, Mr. Bollore kept a low profile as Mr. de Pouzilhac openly spoke out against him in an attempt to persuade shareholders to vote against giving Mr. Bollore the board representation he had requested.

In a tight election June 9, Mr. de Pouzilhac lost his battle, and Mr. Bollore won four seats.

One day after the vote, Mr. de Pouzilhac told employees in an e-mail "you can rely on me" and that he'd continue to fulfill his responsibilities. Mr. Bollore, meanwhile, embarked on a campaign against Mr. de Pouzilhac. He told French newspaper La Tribune June 14 that he "was surprised" that Mr. de Pouzilhac did not resign after having so vehemently opposed him. Later that week, news reports citing sources close to Mr. Bollore said Mr. de Pouzilhac would resign before today's meeting.

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