PERSPECTIVE - Passion is the key that is likely to win Tempus for Havas

Just in case you hadn't cottoned on yet, Chris Ingram does not want

Sir Martin Sorrell to buy Tempus. Even if you weren't aware of the

buttock-clenched sniping between the two ever since Sorrell became a

major Tempus shareholder, Ingram's recent PR drive should have set you

straight.



Ingram and his board have put their backs behind the £425 million

Havas offer, amid much nail-biting and bowel-churning at the prospect of

Sorrell making a counter-bid. And by last weekend Ingram was insisting

that he would rather leave the company he founded in 1974 than work for

a WPP-owned Tempus (though there are undoubtedly worse things than

quitting with at least £60 million in your pocket).



But just to drive the message straight between the eyes, Havas' chairman

and chief executive, Alain de Pouzilhac, was in town last week to

underline that this is not simply a case of Ingram looking for a white

knight protector from the evil Sorrell. There is, says de Pouzilhac, an

imperative cultural fit between Havas and Tempus.



There is certainly something quite persuasive about the approach of de

Pouzilhac and Fernando Rodes, whose family launched what has now become

Havas' media network, Media Planning. And I don't just mean the tangible

Continental charm. De Pouzilhac himself is a rare beast among the chiefs

of the global holding companies - a man who recognises the potential of

a fully empowered media brand operating at the high end of the

communications process.



Unlike his counterparts at Interpublic Group or Omnicom, de Pouzilhac is

not only committed to aligning communications strategy and planning with

the media offer rather than the creative agency, but also to building a

truly multicultural company.



One irony, though, is that Sorrell could actually make a pretty good

second choice for Tempus if the personal relationship between the two

chiefs hadn't become so redundant. WPP at least has a clear media

vision, a true feel for the value of media and a need for a strong media

management team to bolster the painfully flaccid new management team

that is attempting to breathe life into Young & Rubicam's desperate

Media Edge.



What Havas and Media Planning can offer, however, that WPP seems to

lack, is passion. That may sound like rather a quaint quality in these

days of global marketing and, more pertinently, economic downturn, but

for anyone who loves the business as Ingram clearly does, it's a vital

consideration.



De Pouzilhac told me: "I am very sensitive to human qualities. I was

seduced by Fernando's human qualities and now Chris'. Chris Ingram is

someone who has the most pure vision. We need him a lot and have

enormous respect for his company." And for that Havas would get my vote.



Topics