Publicis restructure makes group more efficient - says CEO

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 11 March 2016
Publicis Groupe CEO Steve King.

The Publicis Groupe restructure will simplify the network and provide efficiency gains for agencies and clients, chief executive Steve King has said.

Yesterday, Publicis announced it will reorganise the Starcom Mediavest Group and ZenithOptmedia into four brands. Starcom, Zenith, Mediavest | Spark, Optimedia | Blue 449.

The restructure will involve a leadership reshuffle with each agency led by a global brand manager. These are Lisa Donohue for Starcom, Vittorio Bonori for Zenith, Brian Terkelsen for Mediavest | Spark, and Andras Vigh for Optimedia | Blue 449.

AdNews understands no decision has been made on who will lead the Australian brands, and local agency bosses have declined to comment at this stage.

In an interview with Ad Age, King admits the restructure is similar to the model adopted by rival GroupM.

"Some parts of our organisation have been world class, and some areas lacking," he says. "Across the business as a whole, we had the leadership position, but we were not scaled. Scaling [seven] practices in particular areas, like tech, data and analytics, draws a line in the sand from what we've done across geographies and brands.

"This has to be very simple, because the business is complex...Sometimes we overcomplicate our story by showing everyone the engineering in technology, but the reason people buy a BMW over another car is because of the benefits the driver experiences. This is an attempt to simplify, to have leaner and less P&Ls."

King says the new model would provide a flatter management structure rather than a holding company "effectively dominating and telling them where they need to allocate their investments".

Removing P&Ls, King adds, will involve redirecting some administrative roles across the agencies. 

As part of the restructure, Vivaki's capabilities will be integrated into Publicis Media’s global practice model. King says this will eliminate layers of complexity and make the business simpler.

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