Maurice Lévy, chairman/ceo of Publicis Groupe, which recently acquired Chicago-headquartered Bcom3 Group, on Monday unveiled his plans to dismember the D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles network, confirming rumours that became rife over the weekend [WAMN: 14-Oct-02] .

According to Lévy, the decision to kill off D’Arcy and integrate its staff and business into the holding company’s three surviving networks – Publicis, Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi – has “absolutely nothing to do” with the current advertising slump

There had been “a question mark” suspended over D’Arcy even before the merger deal was inked, said Lévy, its fate sealed because of gaps in global coverage and recent client losses – Procter & Gamble’s estimated $75 million account moved out of D’Arcy to Saatchi & Saatchi in April; while in May Mars redistributed its $100m business among other shops.

Lévy’s intention is that most D’Arcy staff affected by the closure will be absorbed into the group’s other networks with “minimal” job or client losses. “If we do this right, we will not lose one single client. That is my objective.”

Stateside, D'Arcy will be integrated into Publicis USA, with some accounts and teams going to Saatchi & Saatchi, while D’Arcy’s Detroit office will be merged with Leo Burnett.

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