Publicis Restructures Digital Assets Around Central Unit

Publicis Groupe today launched a new unit designed to harness and centralize the power of its many digital assets, and provide a central point of contact for digital ad networks. The group, which will be led by managing partners David Kenny and Jack Klues, is dubbed VivaKi.

The launch of VivaKi represents the first reorganization for Publicis since its $1.3 billion acquisition of digital shop Digitas. That acquisition instantly boosted Publicis’ digital profile, but raised questions as to how the Paris-based holding company would integrate its newly far-flung digital operations.

VivaKi is tasked with pooling the strengths of those operations, which include Starcom MediaVest, consultancy Denuo and ZenithOptimedia, as well as Digitas, and providing a central point of innovation for the entire holding company. The group will tap into the scale of those various groups to develop new tools, services and partnerships, which will then be made available to all Publicis units.

It will also serve as a single point of contact for media partners and online ad networks. The group launches with several ad network partnerships already in place, including Yahoo and AOL’s Platform-A.

“Our big global clients are all saying they need help with managing the complexity” of the digital landscape, said Kenny. “For the first time ever we are seeing a truly global media, and for us to be relevant to them we had to be bigger.”

The formation of the group brings with it several executive moves. Following the 2006 acquisition, Digitas CEO David Kenny was named chief digital strategy officer for the Paris-based holding company. With Kenny moving to VivaKi, the CEO role at Digitas will be taken over by president Laura Lang, though he will retain his strategy officer position. Klues will remain CEO of Publicis Groupe Media. Renetta McCann, who earlier this month stepped down as CEO of Starcom Media Vest Group, will lead a talent development platform at VivaKi.

The name VivaKi is a combination of the word “Viva,” which means “to live,” and “ki” or “qi,” which the agency said “is often translated as ‘energy flow.'”

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