Yannick Bolloré, the 34-year-old chief executive and chairman of French advertising group Havas, appointed by his billionaire father Vincent in January, always expected to work for his family.
“I never thought I could do anything else,” he says about his role within Bolloré Groupe, an empire of interests which range from stakes in Havas and media conglomerate Vivendi to an electric car hire company that is set to debut in London next year.
“I am the seventh generation. My children will be the eighth. It’s a very dynastic approach. We have always grown up with this affection.”
No wonder Bolloré has an assured air as he gives his first British newspaper interview since taking the helm of Havas, which will soon be the world’s fifth-largest ad group after the merger of its bigger rivals, Publicis of France and Omnicom of America.
Bolloré Groupe was founded in 1822 but its 37% stake in Havas dates back to 2004. Until this year, Vincent Bolloré has left the Havas chief executive’s job to outsiders. David Jones, the Briton best-known for being David Cameron’s ad man, was the most recent incumbent. The group has annual revenues of €1.77 billion (£1.46 billion) and 16,000 employees. Its clients include Evian, Peugeot, Emirates and Diet Coke. Britain is 12% of turnover.