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New CEO Arthur Sadoun shows the “strains” of running Publicis Groupe in this year’s Christmas message

The Publicis Groupe has released its annual Christmas message to its employees around the world, a known tradition in the industry. This year, however, is the first time newly minted CEO Arthur Sadoun will give his greetings — only he doesn’t look very new. 

The network’s Christmas videos were known for their humorous tone featuring former chairman and CEO Maurice Lévy. This time around, Sadoun gave a simple and optimistic message of gratitude and encouragement to Publicis Groupe employees for weathering the changes that happened especially when he gained the reigns of the network. 

Yet, the transformation Publicis Groupe underwent seemed to have affected Sadoun most as he miraculously looked to have aged 20 years older. The 46-year-old CEO is known for his shock of dark hair and feisty countenance. The Sadoun that greeted the world had grey hair and deep wrinkles. 


In contrast, former CEO Maurice Lévy appeared to have aged younger, sporting dark hair and a stress-free air. 

While it seems that the Publicis Groupe is continuing its tradition of producing comic Christmas videos, it is still currently undergoing a massive transformation. “It was a year of transformation in an industry that has been totally disrupted. I know that changing is not easy and we have changed a lot this year,” Sadoun expressed. 

The new top executive has spent the first months of his tenure consolidating agencies under the network, cutting down on expenses, and setting the massive organization on the course to transformation. He also shocked the advertising world right on the industry’s biggest event at the 2017 Cannes Lions by withdrawing from their participation in all awards shows for one year, starting on July 1. 

Sadoun and Publicis Groupe have been also investing in developing Marcel, a proprietary AI platform which employees in 30 countries can use in serving their clients better. 

With the tremendous responsibility heaped on Sadoun’s shoulders, the transformation in this year’s Christmas video may very well be a joke half meant. 

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