Publicis Groupe transforms Vivaki into separate biz unit

MUMBAI: Publicis Groupe has announced that VivaKi will become a separate business unit now and will be available to all Publicis Groupe agencies and the market.

VivaKi was launched in 2008 through the combined scale and leadership of Digitas, Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG), ZenithOptimedia and later Razorfish. It was created to accelerate the digital transformation of Publicis Groupe and its agencies.

Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO Maurice Levy said, "As we seek even more aggressive growth and digital acceleration, the VivaKi leadership-Jack Klues, Laura Desmond (SMG CEO), Steve King (ZenithOptimedia CEO), Bob Lord (Razorfish CEO) and Frank Voris-have developed a plan to open up the VivaKi operations, creating a new impetus for further innovations and more aggressive growth for all Publicis Groupe agencies."

According to Levy, Klues is going to help set VivaKi on its new course, and then map his retirement. Klues will retire as CEO at the end of 2012 after 35 years with the organisation, though he will remain with Publicis Groupe through the first half of 2013 to help establish VivaKi as a separate business unit."

Vivaki CEO Jack Klues said, "The agencies have shaped and perfected our offerings, worked together to create valuable new solutions, and embraced a transformational philosophy of building, borrowing and sharing to the benefit of our clients. Digitas, Razorfish, SMG and ZenithOptimedia will continue to inform our roadmap even as they continue to enhance their own, unique propositions."

With this transformation, the VivaKi agencies will gain greater autonomy to differentiate and collaborate with this evolution. Yet they will remain tightly linked to the progress and offering of VivaKi, and as a result, they will report directly to Maurice Levy.

VivaKi Exchange (VX) operations that currently exist in more than 12 global markets will continue with oversight from VivaKi Country Chairs (VCC) who will align with the media agencies to oversee VX operations and whose duties will include deployment and adoption of VivaKi offerings in local markets.

VivaKi will also continue to advance its product development and Partnership Practice-a team that works with companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft, to create first-mover opportunities, new products and preferred pricing.

Additionally, Frank Voris will serve as CEO of the strategically focused VivaKi, partnering with Rishad Tobaccowala, who remains VivaKi‘s chief innovation and strategy officer.

SMG has accelerated its digital offering by reinventing its core product around human experience, leveraging VivaKi products and expanding strategic partnerships with key technology companies.

Razorfish and Digitas have benefited from the massive media clout and centralised ability of VivaKi to build tools and solutions that enhance the eCommerce offering of Razorfish, and the Social CRM capabilities of Digitas. As a result, the digital agencies have evolved and differentiated rapidly.

Voris, who has served as VivaKi CFO since its inception, has been responsible for all VivaKi operations, including technology, product development and the integration of acquisition targets, since the entity was launched in 2008. Tobaccowala is a 30-year industry thought leader who has pioneered several industry firsts, including VivaKi Ventures, Denuo and other future-focused operational units that have delivered gaming, mobile and internet expertise to marketers.

An executive board consisting of Desmond, King, Lord and Voris will collaborate on VivaKi product strategies, priorities and transactional tools and services.

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