When Sir John Hegarty showcased BBH's work and philosophy, no one imagined that he was talking to Levy to sell off the agency, which he co-founded 30 years ago along with John Bartle and Nigel Bogle in 1982.
The deal also includes a 100 per cent stake in Sao Paulo-headquartered agency NEOGAMA/BBH, in which BBH had a 34 per cent stake, and Alexandre Gama and his partners had the remaining 66 per cent.
BBH is one of the world's legendary agencies. Founded in London in 1982 by John Bartle, Nigel Bogle and Sir John Hegarty, the agency has produced many highly acclaimed campaigns over the past three decades, which includes 'Vorsprungdurch Technik' for Audi, 'Keep Walking' for Johnnie Walker, 'To Fly. To Serve' for British Airways, 'The Axe Effect' for Axe and 'The Web is what you make of it' for Google, to name a few.
Maurice Lévy, chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe assures through an official communiqué that the soul of BBH, which it had acquired as independent over the last 30 years, will be retained.
He says, "All the ingredients that have enabled the success of BBH and NEOGAMA/BBH will be protected today, tomorrow and in the long term."
"BBH's management will continue to be independent and the network will develop in its own way, in its own style, while benefiting from the support of Publicis Groupe's resources to accelerate its growth both geographically and via the expansion of its capabilities into more diverse areas," he adds.
Sir John Hegarty says, "Creativity is at the very heart of BBH. The quality of our work and the people who produce it have always been central to our success and will continue to be so into the future."
To ensure its future and autonomous functioning as a micro-network within Publicis Groupe, BBH has set in place a new management structure. Hegarty has appointed Alexandre Gama to succeed him as worldwide chief creative officer (WCCO). Simon Sherwood, erstwhile group chief executive officer, will take over as group chairman. Gwyn Jones, who joined BBH as part of the first graduate intake in 1987, will become group chief executive officer and Neil Munn, CEO of BBH's brand ventures company Zag, will take on role of the group chief operating officer in addition to his current role.
The board of the BBH holding company will consist of three members of the Publicis Groupe Management Board - Maurice Lévy, Jean-Yves Naouri, and Jean-Michel Etienne - as well as Steve King, global CEO of ZenithOptimedia; Nigel Bogle; Sir John Hegarty; and Simon Sherwood.
This board will delegate full responsibility and authority for the day-to-day management and operation to a BBH Global Management Team led by Gwyn Jones.