Paris, July 20, 2017 — Publicis Groupe, the world’s third largest communications group, reports its half year results for 2017. Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Groupe, comments on results and outlook.
– Company website: Publicis Groupe
EuroBusiness Media (EBM): Publicis Groupe, the world’s third largest advertising and communications group, just reported first-half results. Arthur Sadoun hello.
Arthur Sadoun: Bonjour Adrian. It’s a pleasure to be with you.
EBM: Thank you very much. You are the new CEO of Publicis Groupe, you have been CEO for just 7 weeks, it’s the first opportunity to get to know you, so perhaps my first question is, could you introduce yourself and tell us about the transition and relationship with Maurice Lévy?
Arthur Sadoun: You are right, I’ve been CEO for 7 weeks, short period of time, but I’ve been with Publicis for more than 10 years.
I actually started as CEO of Publicis Conseil, which is the agency that has been founded by Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, then I took responsibility for France, then I took responsibility for Europe, for Publicis Worldwide, then I became CEO of Publicis Worldwide four years ago, and 18 months ago, when we started the Power of One, I took responsibility for Publicis Communication that is having under its remit all the creative agencies.
When it comes to Maurice Lévy, I will choose maybe one word to qualify our relationship; it’s trust. He knows that he can count on me to put Publicis, its people, its clients and now its shareholders as the first priority for me on a day to day basis. And I know that I can count on him, it has been the case for the last ten years, for whatever I need, whether it be it day or night.
EBM: You’ve just reported your first-half results. What are the highlights of these results?
Arthur Sadoun: Quickly the highlights, first of all the revenue in H1, they are just below 5 billion euro. The good news comes from Q2 where we are delivering +0.8%, which is better than expected.
It comes roughly from some clients in FMCG and Auto that are performing better than expected, a bit of phasing and we have also a few past issues that are lower than expected.
What is good to see is that the US is coming back in a good area, being positive in Q2, Europe is still very strong.
So, questions then come on margin, where we are delivering a bit better than expected also, at 13.2%, which is 20 basis points better than last year with, as you know, a growth that is not that high. So when you look at the reorganisation we have put in place, it is starting to get traction and we can qualify those results as satisfactory.
EBM: How do you see organic growth developing in the second half of the year?
Arthur Sadoun: Organic growth, in the second part of the year, is our top priority. We need to improve for sure. If you look at the year, we started in Q1 with -1.2%, we went in Q2 to 0.8%, we need sequential growth improvement to continue and we need to make sure that in H2 we are back to normal, roughly where our peers will be.
EBM: Beyond sequential growth, what is your plan as new CEO, to boost growth going forward?
Arthur Sadoun: To boost growth going forward I think first it’s important to remind our audience that we, with Maurice, with the Executive Committee, with the Directoire, are very confident that we have the assets, we have the talents and we have this new organisation called the Power of One that is really gaining traction.
So, the only question we should ask ourselves is how can we accelerate in the execution of the plan and go deeper in integration to really become the market leader when it comes to marketing and business transformation. We have defined a set of concrete actions that will help us out, achieve this goal and get back the growth that we deserve.
EBM: Could you give us some examples of what you plan to undertake as new CEO?
Arthur Sadoun: I can actually give you the four main actions that we are going to focus on for the next six months.
First, we are going to make sure that we bring to all of our clients our unique model. We are the only company in the world that can bring marketing transformation and digital business transformation in an interconnected way, to all of our clients, and this will be our first priority.
Second, we have incredible expertise in technology, in consulting and in data and we will leverage it even better for the sake of all of our operations.
Third, we need to be more competitive, we need to gain in terms of efficiencies and for that, we need to simplify our structure. We will break even more the silos at country level and we will make sure that people are incentivised to work together.
Last but not least, we have to design a culture that attracts and retains the best talents. This is what we’ll do through training, because need to make sure that people are trained to the transformation we are in, we will use Marcel, to make sure that people have more opportunity to create and get recognised, and finally, we will hire a Chief Talent Officer who will be responsible at top level for culture and talent.
EBM: Arthur Sadoun, newly appointed CEO of Publicis, thank you very much.
Arthur Sadoun: Thank you very much Adrian. I’m sorry I haven’t been as brilliant as Maurice, but the good news is I’ve been shorter!