Publicis Groupe has merged Digitas and LBi to form an integrated agency network DigitasLBi. The new network will be led by LBi chief executive Luke Taylor who has been appointed DigitasLBi's global CEO.
Taylor will report to Bob Lord, CEO of Publicis Groupe's Digital Technology Division. A team of senior LBi, Digitas and Publicis Groupe executives will oversee the merger process under the leadership of Stephan Beringer, CEO, Digitas and Razorfish International.
Publicis acquired LBi last year for a reported US$ 514 million with an eye to strengthening the network's digital capabilities.
Speaking to Campaign India, Vincent Digonnet, president APAC, Digitas and Razorfish, pointed out that the merger is aimed at strengthening the two networks and will see no redundancies. The combined network will span 25 markets and comprise 5,700 specialists. In India, the DigitasLBi combine will be 550 employees strong. LBi currently has around 150 employees.
In Asia-Pacific, Digitas is present in Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, China, India, the Philippines and Thailand. LBi has offices in Australia, India, China and Singapore and will merge with Digitas in these markets. Digonnet will continue in his role as president, Asia-Pacific, Digitas and Razorfish, based out of Shanghai. Ewen Sturgeon will continue in his role as chief executive LBi, Europe, Middle East and Asia, informed official sources.
"The combination of Digitas and LBi will create the world's leading concentration of digital skills and competencies in the world, capable of delivering solutions to all clients, everywhere," said Maurice Lévy, chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe. "The formation of DigitasLBi is an essential landmark. It will certainly be the most competitive, attractive network in the market for both clients and talent."
On the network’s plan for the combined entity in India, Digonnet said, “In India, there is no conflict with clients and LBi have complementary skills to our offerings. With this development, Digitas LBi is now the single largest agency (with respect to number of employees) in India.”
An announcement on changes in structure in India can be expected, according to Digonnet.
Digitas India is currently headed by Kanika Mathur in the capacity of president, while Himani Kapadia heads LBi India as managing director.
(With inputs from Campaign Asia)