It’s Synergy Time at Razorfish and Digitas

Now that it has officially acquired Razorfish, Publicis has taken steps to realize cost savings from the agency’s close alignment with former rival Digitas.

Since both agencies now reside within the holding company’s Vivaki digital ad unit, it has become possible for them to share global financial and talent recruitment functions. Those functions will be led respectively by Joe Tomasulo, CFO of Digitas, and Alicia Shankland, the HR chief for Razorfish.

Outside the U.S., Vivaki will take more aggressive steps to combine resources. A spokesperson said the agencies will share some regional office space — separate, but within the same building, referred to as a “two-door policy” — in certain regions. Germany and India are among the countries where such integration is likely, she said.

Some job losses are possible, but will be minimized through attrition and internal transfers. The spokesperson said of the layoffs, “I don’t think they’ll be significant.”

There are 20 markets outside the U.S. where Digitas and Razorfish both operate. In addition to real estate costs, they expect to consolidate their use of technology, data services such as those from TNS and comScore, and R&D.

Stephan Beringer will oversee brand synergies for both agencies in Europe and the Asia Pacific region. In Latin America, Razorfish Americas President Dave Friedman will lead the charge.

In other appointments, Razorfish CEO Bob Lord was named to Vivaki’s board of directors; and Darin Brown, president of Razorfish Europe, becomes president of global accounts and innovation for Razorfish. Lee Sherman, president of Razorfish Asia Pacific, will continue in that job and report to Beringer.

Finally, Vivaki “futures” unit Denuo will be aligned with Digitas and Razorfish. Previously led by Rishad Tobaccowala, it will now report to Laura Lang. Tobaccowala will take on an unspecified role at Vivaki.

It remains to be seen how long it will take for Vivaki to complete the consolidation of finance, talent, technology, and other aspects of its agencies’ operations. The spokesperson estimated the changes could take all of next year. In an earnings statement last month, Publicis told investors it believes synergies will create cost savings of $13 million.

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