Arthur Sadoun Named CEO of Publicis Worldwide

Move Marks a Big Vote of Confidence From Maurice Levy in Young French Exec

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Succession planning is continuing at Publicis Groupe, where Arthur Sadoun -- the young French ad exec who's been running the ad holding company's namesake shop in Europe -- has been promoted to CEO of Publicis Worldwide.

Arthur Sadoun
Arthur Sadoun

It represents a big vote of confidence in a young star to see if he can ascend through the network globally. Publicis Worldwide is incredibly important to the DNA of the overall company, as it was the agency that was the foundation for the group, founded by Marcel Bleustein Blanchet in Paris in 1926. Today Publicis Worldwide is the largest global agency network for the holding company with nearly 9,000 employees in some 80 countries. In the United States, that includes New York-based Publicis Kaplan Thaler, Riney in San Francisco, and Modem offices in select cities.

Mr. Sadoun -- who, along with his TV personality wife Anne-Sophie Lapix is a bit of a local celebrity in France -- will report to the Groupe chairman-CEO Maurice Levy and will also join the executive committee of Publicis Groupe.

The timing of the promotion is significant since it comes as Publicis awaits approval of a merger with Omnicom Group, and Mr. Sadoun is one of a number of execs who could be in line within the matter of five years to run the merged company. Once the deal is approved, the structure will see Mr. Levy, 71 years old, and Omnicom CEO John Wren, 60, share the responsibilities of running the company as co-CEOs for a period of 30 months. Within five years from the merger, Mr. Wren told analysts, he will move into a chairman post. That leaves a lot of room for execs like Mr. Sadoun -- and others from within the two holding groups, and possibly even outside -- to prove themselves. In Mr. Sadoun's case, this is a key stepping stone to see if he can handle global responsibilities.

"This appointment comes as a natural step in Arthur's career path within our Groupe," said Mr. Levy in a statement. "He joined us as Chairman of Publicis Conseil, which he modernized while sustaining its growth and improving its creative work. Arthur also applied his vision and talents to Publicis Worldwide's activities in France. Arthur will pursue the work begun by [Publicis Worldwide Executive Chairman and Groupe COO] Jean-Yves Naouri aiming to make Publicis Worldwide the Groupe's most performing network."

For Mr. Naouri, it likely means the ability to focusing more on his global chief operating officer responsibilities for Publicis Groupe.

Said Mr. Sadoun in a statement: "It is a great honor to be the CEO of the network which carries the name of the Groupe and which was the starting point of Marcel Bleustein Blanchet. I would like to thank Maurice Lévy for his confidence. Publicis has built its success on three core values: innovation, client obsession and entrepreneurship. It is my task, in a world of radical change, to ensure that these values are lived stronger than ever."

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