Grey France loses president to dot-com client

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PARIS--Jacques Hebert, a leading figure in French advertising circles, has resigned the presidency of Grey France to take over communications and marketing at one of the agency's top dot-com clients, online travel agency Travelprice.com.

President of Grey France since October 1996, Mr. Hebert, 56, also presided over FCA!, Paris, from 1990 to 1996, and J. Walter Thompson Co., Paris, from 1987 to 1990. "This is obviously a big change for me, in that I am moving from the agency side to the client, but I see it in line with my longstanding interest in dot-coms and interactivity," says Mr. Hebert.

Grey France, a Top 20 French agency with $25 million in gross income last year, has yet to announce Mr. Hebert's successor.

Mr. Hebert, who helped land the Travelprice.com account at Grey in late 1999, will assume pan-European marketing responsibilities at the virtual travel agency, which has spread to Belgium, Canada, Italy and Spain in recent months with plans to further expand into Denmark, Germany and the U.K. this year.

The company's flagship French site records more than 15,000 visitors daily, four million pages viewed monthly and is expected to generate revenues topping $45 million in 2000.

Grey, Paris, will continue to handle Travelprice.com's pan-European account, Mr. Hebert says. The agency will maintain its existing strategy for brand identity operations, which combines online activities including banner placement and Web site partnerships with offline campaigns in TV, radio and print.

Grey is believed to be in merger talks with leading independent Callegari Berville, Paris. Clients include Procter & Gamble Co., Mars, 3M and Seagram.

Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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