As Digitas CEO Laura Lang prepares to decamp for Time Inc., Publicis Groupe has handed Razorfish Chief Bob Lord an expanded role. Lord will temporarily take the reins at Digitas, Denuo, Big Fuel, and Phonevalley, all previously led by Lang. With the assumption of these duties, he’ll oversee – for the moment – the whole digital enchilada at Vivaki.
Digitas may eventually get a new dedicated CEO, but not right away. Rather, Lord will oversee a “digital transformation team” with execs from Vivaki and other Groupe agencies. Their assignment: to take what’s been learned at VivaKi and use it to extend talent and technology integration across the holding company. Along with WPP, Publicis is one of the two most aggressive agency conglomerates in the digital sphere. More than 30 percent of its global revenues derive from interactive capabilities.
Lord has been asked to deliver recommendations in Q1 of 2012. Only then will Digitas name a permanent replacement for Lang – that is if his team doesn’t propose something drastic, such as a rebranding of Digitas or a merger of Digitas and Razorfish. Such outcomes are considered unlikely.
Meanwhile, day-to-day leadership of Digitas will fall to two execs: North America CEO Colin Kinsella and international CEO Stephan Beringer.
This latest vote of confidence in Lord caps an 11-year career at Razorfish. He joined in 2000, two years before the agency’s acquisition by professional services company SBI, four years before the combined firm’s acquisition by aQuantive, eight years before that company’s sale to Microsoft, and nine years before the agency finally arrived at its current home. Before being named CEO in 2009, he led Razorfish’s East Coast and Latin America regions.