PARIS: Publicis Groupe chairman/ceo Maurice Lévy has given the green light to the melding of Leo Burnett Worldwide's operations with those of sibling marketing services agency Arc Worldwide.

The move emulates the initially triumphant marriage between IPG's Draft and FCB networks - although Wal-Mart's abrupt (and, as yet, unexplained) firing of the IPG combo casts a shadow on that relationship's success.

Although the two Publicis networks will meld as a single corporate entity, the report in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal makes no mention of co-branding.

According to Burnett chairman/ceo Tom Bernardin, the changes will be most obvious stateside, where a working relationship between the two networks is not as closely developed as elsewhere in the world.

However, it seems unlikely the Burnett-Arc melding will be as tightly joined-at-the-hip as that of Draft and FCB. For example, Leo Burnett Worldwide apparently retains a discrete identity under the new leadership of Tom Dudreck as chief operating officer

But in North America, quondam president of Leo Burnett USA Rich Stoddart will work alongside his former Latin American counterpart Juan Carlos Ortiz to jointly oversee the Burnett/Arc operations in the US, Canada and Mexico.

As a result of which, Marc Landsberg, president of Arc Worldwide in North America, is now thumbing through the magazines in Publicis's platinim-plated departure lounge.

Advising Bernadin's newly created, ten-strong global management council is another guru from within the Publicis stable, Rishad Tobaccowala, chief executive of Denuo, a specialist in emerging ad techniques.

His role, says Bernadin, is "to help us plan our way to the future, digital and otherwise".

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