Publicis boss Maurice Levy hints it will be a team to succeed him when he retires

Publicis Groupe chief executive Maurice Levy has set May 2017 as his retirement date and revealed that it will not be an individual to replace him but a team.

The date for the 73-year old's retirement has been repeatedly pushed back since he first mentioned it back in 2011.

Speaking at Advertising Week Europe today (23 March), Levy said he has a commitment to the Group until the AGM in 2016 and will stay on until the following May.

The board has already made two plans; one for if he “gets hit by a bus tomorrow” and a second, long-term vision for how the company will be run.

Levy hinted that it will see a team take over his duties, as opposed to an individual, and those names have already been decided.

“We are working to build two teams; a supervisory board and director management board with five members. So the solution will not be one person. It will be a team. I am very confident this is going to happen in due course,” he said.

Levy later joked: “If you were interested I would tell you the names…but you are not.”

He also took another swipe at his long-time rival WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell. The pair have slung mud over the years, with Sorrell once calling him the “Freddy Kruger” of advertising and Levy retorting he was “a toddler”.

Commenting on their relationship, Levy said: "We can compete without having nasty, small, naughty ways of dealing with the press. But it seems like it’s [a case of] the frog and the scorpion, and one has a nature to pinch.

“I live with it […] I cannot teach him to be elegant.”

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