Publicis Sentences D’Arcy to Guillotine

14 October 2002

Maurice Levy, ceo of Publicis Groupe, is no respecter of venerability – especially Bcom3’s near-centenarian global network D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, said by insiders to be under the shadow of the guillotine.

Following the completion of Publicis’ $3 billion (€3.04bn; £1.92bn) takeover of Chicago-based holding company Bcom3 [WAMN: 26-Sep-02], a sweeping reorganization of both groups will be announced later this week. But word has already leaked from the Chicago bunker that 96-year old D’Arcy has been sentenced to death as a global network – although it is possible the name may survive in a much diminished form.

According to a mole, D'Arcy ceo John Farrell – the former president of Britain's Institute of Sales Promotion – was summoned by Levy to an interview in New York last week along with the network’s president and chief branding officer Susan Gianinno. The pair were reportedly uptight after this initial meeting, said to concern their futures. However, a later report has it that Farrell and Gianinno will accept alternative senior roles within Publicis.

Last week Farrell and Gianinno were doing the rounds of D’Arcy clients, say ‘sources’. Farrell declined to comment while Gianinno could not be reached. Nor could Levy, who beat a prudent return to Paris this weekend.

Although a massive upheaval is clearly looming, D’Arcy’s anchor client Procter & Gamble has received the assurances it requires regarding the redeployment of its key account staff. Says P&G’s global marketing officer James Stengel: “They've been very clear that they'll do what's right for us and for our brands, without disruption.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff