Dru Says 'Non' to Havas Conqueror

30 June 2005

Jean-Marie Dru (58), ceo at Omnicom's TBWA\Chiat\Day Worldwide, is seemingly no more enamored at the prospect of working under the diktat of corporate raider Vincent Bolloré than was former Havas chief Alain de Pouzilhac.

After ten days of intensive speculation, Dru has uttered a firm 'non' to Bolloré's offer of the chief executive's role at Havas, now firmly under the latter's thumb.

TBWA confirmed Wednesday that Dru will remain in situ, while the man himself spoke at length with French daily Le Monde, telling the newspaper that Havas had agreed to match his TBWA salary. [A curious offer: what executive of Dru's calibre would quit a top job in a successful network for one at the same pay at a company in turmoil?]

Furthermore, commented Dru dryly, it would be an uphill fight to change the culture at Havas, observing "I only have one life".

He continued: ""Havas is a great French institution. It would be arrogant not to consider the proposition. On one hand, there is a really great challenge at Havas; on the other, a deep attachment to a company that I helped to forge. My place is at the head of TBWA."

In the vacuum left at Havas by Dru's refusal, two possible internal candidates, both from the French division of the Euro RSCG agency network, have been identified as frontrunners: chairwoman Mercedes Erra and chief executive Stéphane Fouks.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff