Maurice Lévy has revealed that Publicis maintains the office of founder Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet in the exact state as when he died in 1996,including two Picassos and a sculpture by Giacometti. Is this the best way to maintain a link to the company’s founder?
The primary legacy of a founder is the enduring survival of a company that creates wealth for employees and owners, and delivers benefits to customers. That will rely on developing a culture that enables it to do better than competitors.
Unless the contents of Bleustein-Blanchet’s office illustrate key aspects of the culture he wanted to create, it is hard to see how preserving them will have much meaning for Publicis’s 60,000 employees. Endowing an institution that epitomises the founder’s values – the approach taken by Sir Henry Tate, George Peabody and Andrew Carnegie – might be more effective.
Stephen Brooks is a specialist in people management and organisational change at PA Consulting Group