Paul Kitcatt has launched a scathing attack on his former bosses at Publicis Group – including Maurice Lévy himself – after the High Court awarded the founders and major shareholders of Kitcatt Nohr £2.6m for breach of contract.
The case centred on pledges Publicis executives gave Kitcatt Nohr’s team about the strength of Digitas’ relationship with Procter & Gamble, which accounted for 52.7% of its revenues, ahead of the deal and merger of the two agencies.
Kitcatt Nohr bosses had claimed they were told the account was safe, despite it being a “project based relationship”.
Judge Mr Justice Males awarded the claimants £2.6m – although that is less than the £3.6m they wanted and they plan to appeal. The judge has yet to rule on costs, which it has been claimed could add another £2m to Publicis bill.
Kitcatt said: “[Publicis] didn’t honour their agreements, and Maurice Lévy didn’t come and face us to defend his honour. Instead he relied on a string of witnesses who lacked credibility. They argued about fine technicalities to try to reduce their debt to us.
“[Publicis] need the new blood to keep their network alive. Yet they show no creativity in their business practices. If they had come clean at first about the threat from the ad agencies, we could have defended the business. If they had cut a new deal quickly and stuck to it, we could have focused on winning new business, not on endless finicky negotiations with shadowy figures in Paris.”
The claim was brought by eight members of Kitcatt Nohr’s management team, including agency backer Clive Mishon, planning chief Richard Madden and creative director Phil Keevill, as well as co-founders Paul Kitcatt, Marc Nohr, Vonnie Alexander and the estate of the late Jeremy Shaw.
Since the case started, Publicis has revealed that it is folding both Kitcatt Nohr and Publicis Chemistry into DigitasLBi, in a move which will see two of the biggest direct marketing agency brands in the UK disappear.
Chemistry and Kitcatt Nohr ditched in Publicis shake-up
And now the wait – Kitcatt Nohr ruling may take months
Kitcatt Nohr chiefs sue Publicis in £8.5m earn-out claim
Industry pays tribute to agency chief Jeremy Shaw
Top duo call it a day at Kitcatt Nohr
Kitcatt steps down but brand lives on
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