Rushing in where angels fear to tread, Alain de Pouzilhac, chief executive officer of Havas, has torn at the jugular of institutional investors and financial analysts.
In an interview earlier this week with French daily newspaper Le Monde, de Pouzilhac savaged the “financial dictatorship” of short-termism. “When we announce good results, the analysts stabilize their recommendation. When our announced results are below expectations, they degrade us,” he fulminated.
“No matter what we do, we suffer from a negative evaluation of the value of our firms,” continued de Pouzilhac. “I deplore the fact that listed companies are being managed according to short-term financial imperatives, rather than long-term industrial strategies.”
But as one biblically-minded media observer pointed out: “He who sups with the Devil should have a long spoon.And there is no known case of an advertising agency or anyone else coerced by torture into an IPO.”
Citing Enron and other recent financial scandals, de Pouzilhac attributes these to senior management’s eagerness to please the financial markets.
The “temptation [to] push the rules to the extreme”, he opined, is exacerbated by America's “highly permissive” accounting standards with the proactive collusion of investment banks, “some of whom are as creative as advertising campaigns.”
de Pouzilhac sees no immediate prospect of recovery in the US economy given the effect of accounting scandals and the subsequent stock market slide on consumer confidence. He also admitted his fear that fallout from the miasma of scandals could soon migrate to Europe – Havas’s largest market and traditional safe haven.
Data sourced from: AdAgeGlobal.com; additional content by WARC staff