Publicis merges SapientNitro and Razorfish globally

Advertising giant Publicis Groupe has merged its digital agencies SapientNitro and Razorfish to form SapientRazorfish - a single global entity with 12,000 staff members.

The reorganisation under digital agency network Publicis.Sapient is the last piece in Publicis’ larger restructuring plan, rounding out an effort meant to simplify creative and media agency networks within the French holding company.

SapientRazorfish will be led by SapientNitro CEO Alan Wexler while Razorfish CEO Shannon Denton will become chief strategy officer.

Meanwhile, Alan Herrick, CEO of Publicis.Sapient, will move into the role of chairman of the network. Chip Register will share the role as CEO of Publicis.Sapient while remaining CEO of Sapient Consulting.

Publicis does not anticipate any layoffs with the merger, and while there may be some client conflicts, they "were less significant than you might imagine" and the agency has detailed plans in place to address them, Bill Kanarick, chief strategy officer for Publicis.Sapient told Ad Age.

“I am thrilled to have Alan Herrick working with me on the continued progress we are making at Publicis Groupe as I consider how best to position the Groupe and configure leadership across the many dimensions inherent in steering both our clients, and the Groupe itself, to a prosperous future,” said Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy in a statement.

Levy also described SapientRazorfish as a "powerful new entity in the marketplace uniquely combining customer experience strategy, omni-channel commerce, and technology deployment to create a new breed of digital transformation partner pointed at today’s most critical client need – reshaping their businesses for the future."

Digital now represents 54% of group revenue, on track for the group's target of 60% by 2018, according to the 2016 third quarter earnings report.

The newly configured Publicis.Sapient will begin fully operating in the new model effective January 2, 2017, although management changes announced are effective immediately.

Other agencies under the Publicis.Sapient umbrella include DigitasLBi and Sapient Consulting.