Why Yannick Bolloré has committed to run Havas for (at least) another 11 years

Why Yannick Bolloré has committed to run Havas for (at least) another 11 years
The Media Leader Podcast

Havas CEO Yannick Bolloré is the second-longest-serving leader of a major advertising network, but insists he will be at the helm until at least 2035.

Bolloré talked to The Media Leader about why being in charge of the Vivendi-owned advertising and media services company is important for its staff and its clients.

The Vivendi chairperson also revealed what he thinks the advertising and media landscape will look like in 2035, when Havas celebrates its 200th anniversary.

Listen using the player or read an edited transcript below:


The Media Leader: When you’re restructuring this company, we’ve talked about a lot about the strategy. Where do you see your role going forward? What’s the next chapter for Yannick Bolloré as you lead this business?

Yannick Bolloré: It’s been more than 10 years now that I’m the CEO at Havas. So I’m becoming one of the CEOs in the advertising industry with the longest tenure. I think it’s only John Wren [Omnicom CEO] that has a longer tenure than mine. And I committed myself to the team to remain the CEO of Havas, at least until 2035, which will mark the 200-year anniversary of the creation of Havas by Charles Havas.

The Media Leader: And why is that important? 

Bolloré: I think it’s important for the teams, and for the clients as well, to protect themselves. And I think, in some ways, it’s reassuring for the people to know that there is stability at the top of the company. It’s good for the people to project themselves to know that the company will continue with the same vision to keep the same culture, which is a very important part of Havas’ success as well, our culture. And I think it’s creating value — or at least I hope.

The Media Leader: If you had to place a bet, what will the industry look like in 10 years? You must be thinking as you strategise for the medium-to-long term. 

Bolloré: Yeah, I believe it’s a combination of two things. We start with the second one, which is tech and the importance of tech. We have been launching some tech tools, some solutions that are really changing the way we operate in our business, in terms of: how do we build the strategy for brands? How do we use different insights? How do we analyse the audiences? Or do we produce a personalised message which is meaningful to the different group of prospects or customers? How do we send this message at the right time of the day? The right device? So I think tech will be more and more important.

Also, measurement: how do we analyse the results of a campaign to make it better — it’s a kind of iterative loop. So that’s the second thing.

And the first one, I would say, will remain the importance of creativity, the importance of the idea.

I believe that we are talking a lot about tech, AI, data — which is very important, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes we tend to forget about the importance of the idea: how an idea can have an impact that is making a difference to the people, to the customers and also to the world. And I think it will be a combination of creativity and tech, a combination of idea and machine — human and machine, if you want.

Listen to the full episode

The Media Leader Podcast publishes twice a week and features the most important decision-makers in media and advertising.

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