Case Study: Publicis

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Date Submitted: 11/18/2012 03:03 PM

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1. What lesson did Maurice Levy learn from the failed PCB alliance? Was it simply that alliances are too fragile or vulnerable to people who act badly? What did he change or not change subsequently in his approach to collaboration?

The alliance was initiated by Brown and Levy. They recognized that an acquisition would allow to FCB and Publicis to gain broader shares of the worldwide market. “After six months, and five meetings, mostly just between Brown and Levy, Publicis and FCB announced a strategic alliance” (Kanter, Raffaelli). The first mistake that was made was not involving more people in the decision. Brown’s successor, Mason did not agree with the alliance. This became evident once Brown retired. The alliance should have had the support of Brown’s successor before it was agreed upon. Mason ended the relationship with the Publicis Company by making claims of arbitration, and going to court. After this, Publicis could no longer trust FCB and the relationship was finished. After Publicis was successful in winning the disputes involving FCB in court he stated:

“ The most important thing I learned, above all else, was about people. I believed, as we were amongst friends, that we could simply build the relationship on trust and that I did not need to send for every single thing through a legal letter. The second mistake I made was to rely on the idea- that the interest of the company was more important than the interest of the people. That what we were building fro the stockholders and our clients was more important than the egos. I was wrong. The interest of the company was secondary to the True North CEO’s ego” (Kanter, Raffaelli).

So, Maurice Levy learned that he needed to exercise caution and protect his company better. He needed to become more familiar with U.S. law, obtain lawyers, and appropriately document all legal business decisions. He also learned that not all CEO’s share the same moral and ethical values as he does. Not every CEO truly...