Cordiant has sacked the president of Saatchi & Saatchi France, apparently in an attempt to take full control of the company.
Didier Colmet Daage has been with the company for more than 20 years and holds a 34 per cent stake in the French holding company. Other managers control a further 14 per cent, giving Cordiant a majority 52 per cent stake.
The group employs 240 people across six companies, ranging from direct marketing to advertising. Its yearly income is Fr200m (25m).
Colmet Daage was also president and director general of the French agency Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, whose clients include Playtex, Weetabix and Essilor glass. He was dismissed by Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Worldwide European chief executive Derek Bowden two weeks ago. Group finance director Nicolas Moniaux has taken over as group chairman and Philippe Lentschener has replaced Colmet Daage as chairman of the agency.
“Obviously, there has been some tension over control because the management holds 48 per cent,” says Colmet Daage. “Because of the quality of our results and the fact we were sitting on 48 per cent, the management did not hesitate to say ‘no’ when we thought it was appropriate.
“But in the past ten years France has been doing significantly better than most other Saatchi & Saatchi European agencies. It is possible that this is an attempt to control 100 per cent of the company,” he says.
However, Bowden claims the decision to remove Colmet Daage was taken because of differences over the future direction of the group.
“It is true Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Worldwide wanted to take greater control to secure the happiness of clients in France,” says Bowden. “We have to invest to develop existing clients and expand the client base. There is no magic, it is the same investment you make in any mature market.”