Following months of speculation, Publicis Communications boss Arthur Sadoun has been officially announced as the chosen successor to Publicis Groupe chairman and chief executive officer Maurice Lévy.
It was decided that the search for a new leader would remain internal following a thorough analysis by the nominating committee, Lévy, and the chair of the supervisory board and president of the nominating committee. Elisabeth Badinter.
Sadoun, who will officially start on 1 June, will be supported on the Management Board by Publicis Media chief executive Steve King, who joins the current board of executive vice president and chief financial officer Jean-Michel Etienne, and secretary general Anne-Gabrielle Heilbronner.
“The highly respected professional qualities of Arthur Sadoun, his unique understanding of clients and their needs, his accomplishments both during his time at Publicis Groupe and before, and his human qualities, all make him the prime candidate,” said Badinter.
“On behalf of the supervisory board, we have every confidence in this team to meet the challenges ahead.”
Badinter also commented that she and the Supervisory Board would like to note the “exceptional work accomplished under the stewardship and thanks to the personal commitment of Maurice Lévy over the last 30 years”.
“Our Groupe has profoundly transformed itself, ranked today not only as the third group globally but above all as the first when it comes to the engine of the future: digital. It would be too long to list all of the accomplishments achieved under his direction.
“It suffices to say that, over this period, our headcount went from around 3,000 people to nearly 80,000; our revenue has multiplied by nearly 50 and our market capitalisation by close to 100. I would like to warmly thank him and tell him how much the supervisory board and myself are grateful to him.”
Badinter continued that she has proposed that Lévy join the supervisory board as chairman, subject to a vote of agreement by shareholders and the rest of the board at the next AGM on 31 May, to provide Sadoun with guidance.
“First of all, I’d like to warmly congratulate Arthur,” commented Lévy. “I am extremely happy with this choice, which is the most appropriate and judicious for the future of our Groupe, and congratulate Arthur warmly. It’s not just any choice, it’s a measured and well thought out choice that opens new doors for the future of our amazing Groupe.
“I have known Arthur for many years. We have worked very closely together. He is a seasoned professional with an inspiring vision of our industry and of our clients’ needs. He knows them well, he understands them well and he knows how to deliver the solutions and services they need to grow, develop and transform by selecting the best talent. He has the intelligence, the energy and the passion necessary to master our trade in a connected world that is changing and evolving constantly.
“He’s also a man with admirable human qualities. It is all this together that will drive him, with the help of his team, to lead the Groupe on the path to success and to rise above any obstacle. In handing him the ‘keys to the future’, as Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, the founder of Publicis said to me, the Supervisory Board has made an excellent choice. I have every confidence.”
Lévy went on to praise Sadoun’s “first-rate” team.
“The Management Board, in its new form, is balanced and based upon high standards of rigor and expertise. I feel most confident this team is fit for the Groupe’s lofty ambitions. In direct support of the Management Board, talented leaders head our Solutions to best serve our clients and help them grow. It’s another reason to feel confident.
“We owe where we are today to our clients, and we thank them for their trust. In order for us to continue to be worthy of this trust, we need to put in place the strongest team possible to drive the future. This has now been done. They can count on these world-class talents.”
Sadoun thanked Badinter, Lévy and the supervisory board for their trust, as well as Publicis Groupe’s clients and teams around the world.
“Leading the company founded by visionary Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet and made into a global communications leader by Maurice Lévy is an immense honour and an incredible challenge,” Sadoun added. “A challenge that I’ll meet with open arms, thanks to the continued contribution of Maurice’s wisdom and experience, and the support of Steve King, the Management Board and the talented individuals who make up Publicis Groupe.
“Thanks to each of them, I’m taking on this new role with confidence, determination and one objective in mind: accelerating our transformation and development through The Power of One to continue to make Publicis shine like Marcel and Maurice have done for the past 90 years.”
Watch Maurice Lévy’s full speech on the future of the group below.