Havas SA (HAV), the French advertising agency partly-owned by billionaire Vincent Bollore, said David Jones is standing down as chief executive to start his own company. Chairman Yannick Bollore will take over the top job.
Jones will begin his startup next month and his immediate departure is unrelated to Havas’s earnings, Bollore said during a conference call. Jones will continue to advise Havas on strategy this year, according to an e-mailed company statement.
“This has nothing to do with earnings,” Bollore said on the call. “We are on track with our 2013 budget, though we didn’t give you any predictions, and we are seeing 2014 with a very positive budget.” Jones said the change in management is “no surprise” and should be attributed solely to “my desire to go on and create this company.”
Bollore’s move to the top role marks the third change of CEO at Havas in less than three years. Bollore, 33, replaced his father Vincent as chairman in August. Vincent Bollore is due to become chairman of Vivendi SA, in which he owns a stake of about 5 percent, when the conglomerate completes a separation of its telecommunications business from its media assets.
Shares of Havas rose 0.59 percent to 6.01 euros. The stock has gained 44 percent over the past 12 months.