Advertising group Publicis shook up its management to prepare for life after its failed merger with U.S. based Omnicom, parting company with its Chief Operating Officer and teeing up for the eventual departure of chairman Maurice Levy.
In a statement on Tuesday in which it also reaffirmed its 2018 targets, the company said COO Jean-Yves Naouri was leaving the board to be replaced by Anne-Gabrielle Heilbronner, who joined the company in April 2012.
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Levy, aged 72, will stay on long enough to approve the company's financial statements for the 2016 fiscal year, the company said, stepping down at the spring 2017 shareholders meeting.
Before the Omnicom deal, Naouri had been seen as a potential successor to Levy, but he had failed to secure a prominent role under the merger plan. The deal fell apart this year over leadership conflicts that deepened during delays to tax and antitrust approvals.
Publicis also said it was hiring Axel Duroux "to take over strategy, development, performance and optimization of the Groupe's presence in emerging and fast-growing markets". This role had been filled by Naouri.
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The company said it would present its plans to investors before the end of October.
"It looks like Levy's staying on a bit longer than people had expected for continuity and to get the company back on its feet," said Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Conor O'Shea.
"It's broadly reassuring. It looks as if what they're doing is going back to the business plan they set out in April 2013, before Omnicom," said O'Shea.
"The thing everyone wants to know is will they buy Criteo. They're not ruling it out, but maybe by publicly affirming these self-help targets they are suggesting they're not going to do that," he said.
Online advertising group Criteo SA's shares leapt in August after French media reported Publicis was in talks to buy it.
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