Rodés primed for senior executive role at Havas

Fernando Rodés, Havas vice-chairman and chief executive officer of media buying unit MPG, is being lined up to take a wider executive role at the Paris-based global marketing services group.

According to those close to the negotiations, Havas chairman Vincent Bollor̩ (pictured) Рwho owns a 24 per cent stake in the company Рis keen to persuade Rod̩s to take up a senior role, which may involve displacing recently appointed group chief executive Philippe Wahl.

Wahl – not widely known in marketing services circles – is believed to have been installed as a compromise candidate in July last year, after Bolloré toppled previous chairman and chief executive Alain de Pouzilhac and took control of Havas. Wahl was previously chief executive of a unit of French bank Caisse d’Epargne.

In addition to his stake in Havas, Bolloré independently holds a 25 per cent stake in London-based media specialist Aegis and has expressed an interest in building a relationship between the two companies. Rodés could act as a natural bridge, say sources.

When Bolloré was buying into Aegis, Wahl publicly distanced Havas from Bolloré’s stake-building activity in the UK media company.

Rodés is one of three vice-chairmen who lead a Havas strategic committee, headed by his father and co-founder of MPG, Leopoldo Rodés. The other two members are Havas chief creative officer Jacques Séguéla and Ed Eskandarian, head of Arnold, another Havas network.

However, Rodés is thought to be nervous of the impact of a senior overarching role on the team that manages Euro RSCG globally. This comprises Rémi Babinet, Mercedes Erra, Stéphane Fouks and David Jones. Jones, now chief executive of Euro RSCG Worldwide, was touted as a possible group chief executive before Wahl’s appointment.

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