Louise Ridley
Jan 10, 2014

New Havas CEO Yannick Bolloré acknowledges importance of scale

Says holding company big enough to serve global clients, but does not rule out a sale in future, reports CampaignLive UK

New Havas CEO Yannick Bolloré acknowledges importance of scale

Bolloré, who is 33 and the son of Havas’s primary shareholder Vincent Bolloré, was today announced as the new leader of the group, which includes Havas Media Group and the Havas Worldwide advertising network.

He replaces David Jones, who resigned after 15 years at the company to found a tech start-up.

Asked whether Havas’s long-term future was to remain as an independent or combine with another holding group, Bolloré acknowledged that scale was crucial: "Especially in media, but even in creativity, scale is very important. Clients are getting more and more globally organised… so they need to have partners that are globally organised."

Havas is the smallest of the major global holding companies, reporting annual revenues of £1.6 billion.

WPP (£10.4 billion) and Omnicom (£9.25 billion) dwarf Havas. Omnicom is itself is set to merge with Publicis Groupe this year to form the world’s largest advertising group. Increased consolidation has prompted speculation that WPP or Dentsu could buy Havas to boost its market klout.

Bolloré said: "What’s important is not to be the biggest, but the fittest." He pointed to recent global account wins for Havas Media Group such as Emirates and LG Electronics, which he said reinforced the fact that Havas is a global player.

Bolloré, who was speaking from Paris in a conference call announcing the management changes, said: "We are in more than 100 countries so we have a global size… and we are able to win and serve clients globally.

"We are big enough to handle global clients, and to do global negotiations, especially with the tech companies. But we are not too big, we are not too fat. We know that social media is revolutionising everything, so I think it’s important that we [remain] a size that allows us to adapt to the new paradigm of communications."

He said: "In this very fast world that we are living in, it’s important to develop a long-term strategy. The fact that we have a peaceful shareholding structure truly helps us to develop this long-term strategy policy."

Bolloré congratulated Jones on his 15-years at the company, and added that the leadership change had been "managed very properly and I think it will be an opportunity for Havas".

Also read: David Jones to leave Havas

(This article was first published on www.campaignlive.co.uk)

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