January 20, 2017 / 11:30 AM / a year ago

Publicis CEO Levy expects his successor to be picked within weeks

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Maurice Levy expects his successor as chief executive of Publicis to be chosen by the board of the French advertising group within weeks.

“The process is coming to an end. Within a few weeks, maybe slightly before, we will know exactly who he or she is and it will be decided by the board of directors,” Levy told Reuters in a television interview on Friday.

Levy is due to step down in 2017 as chief executive of the world’s third-biggest advertising group, which competes with market leader WPP and Omnicom.

He has led the company since 1987 and has previously said that Publicis will make a decision on his successor in February, which is when the company is due to post its results.

In October, Publicis’ revenue figures showed a stalling in underlying third-quarter sales growth, and Levy had expressed caution over its prospects for 2017.

Levy reiterated on Friday that Britain’s vote to quit the European Union had made the business climate more uncertain, although by saying this week that Britain would quit the EU single market when it leaves the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May had added some clarity.

“(The) most important issue is uncertainty. They are all worried about this uncertainty, particularly in Europe. They don’t know the consequences of Brexit. They understand now, now it’s a harder line. At least there is clarity,” Levy said.

“It’s too bad, it’s painful. It’s probably the worst thing that could happen to the UK and also Europe, but at least there’s clarity. What we see now is there is a lot of plans to relocate part of financial services in Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris,” Levy added.

Additional reporting by Silvia Antonioli; Writing by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Dominique Vidalon and Alexander Smith

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