Publicis has lured Richard Hytner back to advertising as its chief
executive after he had spent little more than a year in charge of the
The former Ammirati Puris Lintas boss will assume day-to-day control of
the agency, as well as running its showpiece pounds 40 million Renault
Hytner’s hiring is the catalyst for a series of top-level changes which
include the promotion of the joint chief executive, Rick Bendel, to
He takes over as head of the agency from Michael Conroy, who hands over
after 12 years to concentrate exclusively on expanding the Publicis
group as its chairman. The group also includes Optimedia, its media
dependant, Impact FCA, its through-the-line subsidiary and City
Dan O’Donoghue, the joint chief executive alongside Bendel, will become
Conroy’s deputy, while extending his strategic planning responsibilities
for several key international clients.
The changes will result in the agency being run by a new managerial
triumvirate of Bendel, Hytner and the creative director, Gerry
The appointment of Hytner, 37, ends months of speculation that Publicis,
the UK’s seventh-largest agency, was in the market for a big name.
Bendel admitted the pair had been in conversation even before Hytner
opted to become chief executive of the Henley Centre.
But Hytner insisted the Henley appointment had not been a stop-gap. ’I
didn’t expect to be coming back so fast,’ he said. ’But I’ve achieved my
aim of changing the Henley culture and making it more client-efficient.
I also remain passionate about the ad business and Publicis is an agency
which has been enjoying a great deal of success.’
Hytner quit APL at the beginning of last year after he expressed
unhappiness about the forced merger of SP Lintas and Lintas.
He will be succeeded at the WPP-owned Henley Centre by his deputy, Paul
Edwards, a former APL head of planning.