Publicis CEO Maurice Levy is to stand down from leading the company in 2016, longer than originally planned.
Levy is set to depart the global marketing services group in 2016, having originally been expected to exit the company next year.
The announcement came as part of an internal management reshuffle which will see Starcom MediaVest CEO Laura Desmond, Steve King, CEO of ZenithOptimedia, Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Worldwide and Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Strategist of Publicis Groupe all joining the board of directors. Already on the board are Lévy, Chairman, Anne-Gabrielle Heilbronner, Kevin Roberts and Jean-Michel Etienne.
A statement from the company, explained: “These initiatives will lead the way for a new generation at the helm of the Groupe. Its mission will be the seamless implementation of the changes required to optimize the use of Groupe resources and its transformation into a hybrid company of the new era: an alchemy of talents offering advertisers the strategic, creative and technological solutions they need to progress, both in terms of image and of growth, in a world of constant upheaval generated by technological innovations.”
Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, will become executive chairman of Saatchi’s and Fallon and head couch of Publicis Groupe, where he will be charged with inspiring and motivating its leadership.
In succession, Robert Senior will be appointed as CEO and Chris Foster as COO of the Saatchi & Saatchi/Fallon network. Both have proved their weight in their previous responsibilities.
The decision by Levy will be a surprise, with the 72-year-old having previously set a deadline of New Year’s Eve for a successor to be ready to take over prior to the collapse of the company’s merger with Omnicom earlier this year, which would have seen him become co-CEO with John Wren, CEO of Omnicom for an 18-month period before standing down.
In July 2013, Levy spoke to The Drum about succession plans within Publicis after over four decades.