Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Worldwide, Takes Control of MSLGroup

PR Shop Will Remain Separate Entity, Though Move Is Designed to Bring More Capabilities Together

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Arthur Sadoun
Arthur Sadoun

Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Groupe's namesake agency, will now oversee MSLGroup.

The holding company said MSL and Publicis will continue to operate as their own entities, though both will now be controlled by Mr. Sadoun. Olivier Fleurot, CEO at MSL, will join the Publicis Groups as senior VP in September, heading communications, corporate social responsibility, real estate, insurance and cross-disciplinary programs such as Altaïr, according to a statement from the holding company.

"This announcement is in line with our strategy for transformation, integration and simplification of our structures," said Publicis Groupe chief Maurice Levy in the statement. "I am convinced that this operation will allow us to improve our service offering for our clients thanks to further integration, and that it will be beneficial for all of the Groupe's networks."

MSL houses a few shops, including Kekst & Co., experiential agency PBJS and public-relations and public-affairs agency QorvisMSL. Publicis Worldwide is one of the major creative agencies within Publicis Groupe, along with Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett and BBH.

Since becoming CEO of Publicis Worldwide in October 2013, Mr. Sadoun has worked to turn the agency around, in part by putting an emphasis on improving digital capabilities.

As adland executives have been increasingly talking about the value of integrating offerings after years of operating separate creative, digital, PR and media networks, the move is ostensibly to bring multiple disciplines under the control of one executive, despite the fact that they will remain separate entities.

"The Sapient acquisition and increasingly sophisticated demands from our clients -- themselves facing new challenges -- call for a deep review of our global configuration and how we work," said Publicis Groupe chief Maurice Levy in an internal memo obtained by Ad Age. "We must be more and better integrated, swifter, more flexible and agile. In line with our motto 'No silo. No solo. No bozo,' our organization should echo the overarching principles of a smooth and seamless working."

Added Mr. Levy in the memo: "I asked Arthur Sadoun to directly oversee MSLGroup on top of his existing responsibilities and to make sure we leverage and integrate our formidable PR and strategic communications capabilities in the service of all Groupe client's campaigns... This alignment is not at all about merging MSLGROUP with Publicis Worldwide. To put it simply, Arthur Sadoun will head the two networks and leverage MSLGroup's skills to design a new integrated approach. All this to the benefit of our clients and of our strengthened Groupe growth."

Publicis Groupe in February completed its acquisition of Sapient Corp., which created a digital network within the holding company, in addition to DigitasLBI and Razorfish Global.

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