Publicis Groupe restructures into four client-oriented hubs (Updated)

PARIS - Publicis Groupe is restructuring its business model by breaking down its disciplines into four "solutions hubs" with each client led by a chief client officer, effective January 2. The change includes a new role for Jarek Ziebinski, currently Leo Burnett's APAC chairman and CEO.

Levy announced the change in a video (see below)
Levy announced the change in a video (see below)

The modification of Publicis Groupe's business model puts clients "at the heart" of the organization, according to the company's statement.

In an internal letter Maurice Levy sent to Publicis Groupe employees, he likened the agency's relationship with its clients post-restructure to a smartphone: "powered by sophisticated tehcnology, but very easy to use". 

The current structure is built around the concept of worldwide networks, but those silos will be broken down to offer clients Publicis Groupe’s "entire know-how and expertise through the power of one," the statement said.

The performance of the company’s businesses will be judged on client service, with each client led by a chief client officer who will be responsible for all the group's services and skills, no matter the discipline or country.

Chief client officer teams will be supervised by a Publicis Groupe chief revenue officer. Starcom MediaVest CEO Laura Desmond will take on this newly created role. Sources said she will continue in her current role while a replacement is sought.

The four hubs are:

  • Publicis Communications
  • Publicis Media
  • Publicis Sapient, and
  • Publicis Healthcare.

Publicis Communications will be led by Publicis Worldwide CEO Arthur Sadoun. This hub will comprise all the group's creative networks: MSLGroup, Publicis Worldwide, Nurun, Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, as well as BBH and Marcel. It will also include the production hub Prodigious.

Publicis Media will be led by Steve King, currently global CEO of ZenithOptimedia, as CEO and will bring together Starcom Mediavest, ZenithOptimedia, Vivaki, Performics, MRY, Moxie or RUN and all associated entities, according to Publicis.

Publicis Sapient will be led by Alan Herrick, currently Sapient's president and CEO, as CEO and includes Sapient Consulting, SapientNitro, DigitasLBi, Razorfish and all the associated entities, Publicis said.

Publicis Healthcare will be led by Nick Colucci.

Publicis Groupe generates more than 90 percent of its revenue in about 20 countries, it said, although it did not list those countries. All remaining countries will now be managed through a dedicated group entity called Publicis ONE, led by Ziebinski as CEO.

In Publicis ONE countries, all entities will be united under one roof and one management team. This is designed to ensure better coordination of all client services while respecting confidentiality.

A Leo Burnett Asia-Pacific spokesperson said the agency could not comment at this time on Ziebinski's new role or who would succeed him.

In order to coordinate and best take advantage of the group's assets, a committee will be set up in the main countries where Publicis Groupe operates to represent all solutions. Each will be led by a group representative, the first to be put in place is a US committee led by Desmond.

The executive committee will soon be rethought in order to better adapt to the evolution of the group.

On the media side, WPP's GroupM was quick to assert that it was way ahead of Publicis on this. "On the structure of their media agencies, they are doing now what we did 12 years ago," said Dominic Proctor, global president of GroupM. "It was sensible then and it remains sensible now, but even sensible reorganisations take time to settle and for real client advantage to materialise. We will simply continue to concentrate on the advantage we’re delivering to clients today.”

Please see PRWeek for a version of this story with more details on how the change impacts MSLGroup.

Here is Maurice Levy's 20-minute video statement on the restructuring, followed by highlights of his comments:


We are reversing the model and tearing down silos. We will offer clients our entire expertise through the power of one. All capabilities will be available in a smart and efficient way.

We have grown through silos and the coordination of entities has been paramount in serving clients. But it’s become too complex.

We have created the chief client officer role. The CCO will be responsible for the entire range of skills the client can benefit from, no matter the discipline or country.

It will all be powered by a digital platform and, where possible, the dedicated teams will be gathered under one roof.

It will be organized across solutions hubs at the service of the client. All creative solutions [including PR] will be gathered in one hub, all media solutions in another, the same for consumer, technology, or healthcare.

The CCOs will be able to tap into all the hubs to best serve the clients. The group chief revenue officer will coordinate the team of CCOs. Laura Desmond has accepted this newly created role. She will also be in charge of new business.

The mission is to simplify the way we access the range of solutions without duplication and delay to accelerate group growth and development.

Each of the four hubs will leverage shared tools, platforms, and services. This will simplify our process and reduce our costs, thus increasing our competitiveness without compromising the crux of our business.

The functions of these leaders will be broadened and strengthened to allow them to full express their skills. We will bring clients an entire range of skills from each of the disciplines, while breaking down all our silos.

We generate more than 90 percent of revenue from about 20 countries. Many countries don’t get the attention they deserve – we will now manage these countries through a dedicated unit called Publicis ONE, led as CEO by current Leo Burnett Asia-Pacific chairman and CEO Jarek Ziebinski. P1 will bring together all entities in these countries under one roof and management.

With the acquisition of Sapient we further grew our experience and critical mass in consumer and technology. There is huge disruption in the worlds of communications and marketing.

We have passed the 50 percent threshold of revenues stemming from digital. Yet, to better serve our clients we ourselves have to go the extra mile in our transformation journey. Clients want us to help them in many different areas - we have to differentiate their brands in a digital world. But they also expect more for less.

We have opted for a new ambition, putting clients at the core of our organization. We want to be an admired force in business transformation, driven through the alchemy of creativity and technology.

Our core business remains building strong and attractive brands for our clients. We have added consumer, technology, and smart data management at scale."



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