Has an opportunist French financier intimated the end of the twenty-year pendulum swing toward globalized agency holding companies?

The new strategy signalled Wednesday by Havas chairman Vincent Bolloré appears to suggest exactly that.

For Bolloré has decreed that his holding company's flagship agency network Euro RSCG switches its focus from global business to concentrate instead on four key markets - the USA, the United Kingdom, France and China.

Although Bolloré himself made no such statement, it is inconceivable that one of his senior lieutenants - David Jones, ceo of the Euro RSCG network and member of the Havas executive committee - would announce a new and seminal strategy without the sanction of his group chairman.

New York-based Jones repudiated Havas' former policy of trying to put as many "dots on the map" as its four major rivals (Omnicom, WPP, Interpublic and Publicis). Instead, he said, Euro will from now on concentrate its creative firepower on the four named markets.

Acknowledging that the new strategy had been influenced by recent global business gains by independent shops such as London-headquartered Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Amsterdam's StrawberryFrog, Jones proclaimed: "Our focus is on us being brilliant in four places in the world.

"If we deliver there, they will be the entry points for major multinational business and they will drive our reputation and profile. They will give us access to 85% or 90% of the clients and pitches."

Currently Euro RSCG boasts 233 offices worldwide and Jones hastened to assure staff and clients: "We aren't going around the world selling off a whole bunch of businesses."

Instead, the evolving strategy means the network will no longer tend toward the opening of new offices.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff