Nigel Bogle, one of the three founding partners of Bartle Bogle Hegarty. has revealed the protections in place for the BBH brand now that Publicis Groupe has taken 100% ownership of the famed London-based agency of which it already had 49 per cent.
"Publicis Groupe can never merge us with another agency," he said." They can't make us take business we don't want to. We're not obliged to pitch for anything. They can't move us into one of their buildings. "
Bogle made his comments in In response to questions from from the American magazine AdAge. He revealed that he had said to Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy for years, "The lighter your hand on our shoulder, the better we'll be.' We spent a long time with him to ensure that we could preserve and enhance what BBH is."
Bogle said they called the new arrangement "autonomy within" .
"We have signed a protocol, a binding agreement that protects us and allows up to manage and operate BBH the way we want to.
"We've had 30 years of virtually uninterrupted growth -- we know how to run our business.
The BBH holding company board consists of Publicis Groupe Chairman Levy, Chief Operating Officer Jean-Yves Naouri, Chief Financial Officer Jean-Michel Etienne, ZenithOptimedia Global CEO Steve King, BBH founding partners Nigel Bogle and John Hegarty, and BBH Group Chairman Simon Sherwood. It will meet three or four times a year to delegate the running of the business to BBH.
On his relationship with Alexandre Gama , founder of Sao Paulo-based Neogama/BBH, who is John Hegarty's successor as worldwide chief creative officer of BBH, Bogle said,
" He's a great creative leader, a great planner, he's fantastic with clients. And he looks like John Bartle -- that's why we did it."
So what was in the deal for BBH, AdAge asked.
Bogle said, "BBH is a strong brand but it's underleveraged. I ask myself why we're still so small -- we're 30 years old and still only 1,000 people. There's a lot of opportunity to grow the business, and with only 49% ownership, Publicis had no incentive to invest. We need to be in Africa, and in the Middle East when things settle down. We can do that more rapidly now that we don't have to do it with our own money."