Publicis has appointed former Financial Times chief executive Olivier Fleurot as executive chairman, with Leo Burnett’s European president Richard Pinder joining as chief operating officer.
The surprise appointment of Fleurot, who has no advertising experience, has led some to speculate that he is being lined up as the successor to Maurice Levy, who retires as head of Publicis Groupe in 2010.
The announcement of the new management team for the Publicis network follows chief operating officer Rick Bendel’s decision to join Asda as group marketing director.
It is thought that Fleurot will be responsible for strategy and developing the network’s digital capacity, while Pinder will focus on operational issues.
Fleurot says he understands the “factors that will strongly impact the media and communications sectors”.