Euro RSCG CEO James Heekin resigns

India unaffected; very much in focus at Euro, says Satbir Singh, vice-president - creative

French advertising group Havas has unveiled management changes at the helm of its Euro RSCG Worldwide advertising unit after chairman and CEO James Heekin resigned.

Heekin, who took over Euro RSCG Worldwide in January 2004, is leaving to “pursue other opportunities in the industry”, the agency said in a statement.

According to global media reports, Heekin may head advertising firm Grey Global, which rival WPP bought earlier this year, outbidding Havas.

Analysts said the departure of Heekin, the main architect of Euro RSCG's recovery, was bad news for Havas.

But the move had been widely expected after corporate raider and top shareholder Vincent Bollore took over at Havas last month, becoming its new chairman and setting up a new managing board that excluded Heekin.

Havas announced on Monday that David Jones, the CEO of Euro RSCG's New York office, would become chief executive of Euro RSCG Worldwide. The heads of Euro RSCG France, Stephane Fouks and Mercedes Erra, will be joint executive chairmen, while Remi Babinet was named chief creative officer of Euro RSCG Worldwide.

Erra, Fouks, Jones and Babinet all became co-CEOs of Havas last month, alongside French banker Philippe Wahl, when Bollore set up a three-tier power sharing structure to run daily operations at Havas.

These developments, says Satbir Singh, vice-president – creative, Euro RSCG Delhi, will have no effect whatsoever on India. “If anything, India will be under more focus as like most other global networks, Euro RSCG also has a huge interest in India and China. In fact, our APAC head and the global creative boss, Jacques Seguela, were expected to visit India shortly. Their trip has been postponed a bit because of the global developments,”he added.

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