Publicis Groupe’s Maurice Lévy proposes changes to governance structure

Publicis Groupe - Arthur Sadoun and Maurice Levy

Lévy’s proposal would see him become chairman emeritus and Arthur Sadoun step up to chairman and CEO of the board.

Publicis Groupe’s Maurice Lévy has proposed changes to its governance structure, which will be put to a shareholder vote at its annual general meeting on 29 May 2024. 

Lévy, chairman of the supervisory board, submitted a proposal to the Groupe’s governing bodies that would see the company shift from a dual structure corporation with a supervisory board and management board to a widespread model of a single structure corporation with a board of directors.

The new structure would see Arthur Sadoun become chairman and CEO of the board. His appointment would be accompanied by the creation of a lead director role and reinforcement of the board’s committees.

“The aim of this change in governance is simple: to preserve the driving forces behind the Groupe’s success and maintain the model that has made Publicis our industry’s most valuable company in terms of market capitalisation,” said Sadoun, chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe.

“It will also allow us to continue the duo that we have formed with Maurice Lévy since 2017, which has seen Publicis extract itself from the pack and emerge as a clear leader in our sector.

“The continuity of our partnership, combined with the incredible talent of our teams around the world and our best-in-class capabilities make us more confident than ever in our ability to help our clients transform and thrive in this ever-changing environment, and drive even greater value and innovation for all of our stakeholders. For those reasons, I hope that our shareholders will support this proposal.”

Lévy would then step into the role of chairman emeritus for the Groupe until the end of his mandate in 2025.

In addition to attending board meetings, Lévy would preside over a mixed group of board members and executives, with a clear focus on innovation and foresight. 

These changes allow for the continuation of the partnership formed by Lévy and Sadoun, which in the past seven years has seen Publicis lead the industry on market capitalisation.

The supervisory board approved Lévy’s proposal, which will be subject to a vote by shareholders during the upcoming annual general meeting next month.

“Publicis Groupe has a long history of anticipating change and transforming itself to face the future. The primary responsibility of any board is to ensure that a company has both the governance structure and the teams it needs to lead it forward,” Lévy said.

“With this in mind, I proposed changing the governance of the Groupe in order to put in place a Board of Directors, with Arthur Sadoun as Chairman and CEO. It’s the most effective way of maintaining the Groupe’s success, now and in the long term. I’m delighted that the Supervisory Board was unanimous in its approval of this change, and confident that our shareholders will give it their support, seeing it as the means of preserving and perpetuating the outstanding results that have taken our group to new heights.”

Top image: Arthur Sadoun and Maurice Levy

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