SURESNES, FRANCE: Havas chairman and CEO Alain de Pouzilhac stepped down this week in response to intense pressure brought to bear by dissident shareholder Vincent Bollore and his supporters.
The holding company announced that Richard F. Colker, an independent director and chair of the company?s audit committee, will serve as interim chair and CEO while Havas searches for a permanent replacement. Colker will be supported by three other directors, who will ?take responsibility for the Group?s functions,? the company said.
Bollore, widely characterized as a ?corporate raider,? has bought up nearly a quarter of Havas? shares. Earlier this month he won four seats on the company?s board, which was seen as a blow to de Pouzilhac, who has clashed with Bollore publicly over the future of the company.
Since losing its bid for Grey Global to WPP last year, Havas has been in a difficult position, poised between the giant holding companies and the smaller boutiques.
French and American media have floated the name of Jean-Marie Dru, head of TBWA Worldwide, as a possible replacement for de Pouzilhac. Bollore was reported earlier today as saying no accord had been reached with Dru.
Havas is the parent company of Euro RSCG.