Publicis's Levy Calls WPP's Sorrell a "Little Englishman Trying to Stir Things Up"

Last Updated Jan 12, 2009 3:41 PM EST

Publicis boss Maurice Levy is not backing down in his ongoing spat with WPP chief Martin Sorrell. This is what he said in an interview with the FT regarding Sorrell's suggestion that Publicis should take over Interpublic:
mauricelevy_id1.jpgSuch a deal was the "fantasy of a little Englishman trying to stir things up", Mr Lévy said. "This man is more interested in the affairs of other businesses than in managing his own."
"Little Englishman!" Ouch. That is personal. Sorrell is, famously, not the tallest person on the planet. And David Ogilvy called him "that odious little shit" during Sorrell's hostile takeover of Ogilvy. So Sorrell is likely to regard Levy's statement as, er, working on a number of levels.

BNET readers will remember that this is only the latest in a series of mildly amusing insults that have flown between the two. Back in December the pair were the subject of a Bloomberg story that tracked their catfight.

martinsorrell_photo111.jpgThe WPP chief executive criticized Publicis earlier this year [in 2008] for the Google partnership, implying that Levy, the board chairman and also a trained engineer, had "a bit of an Achilles' heel" when it came to technical matters.

... Levy says Sorrell "recognized now that he's been totally wrong" and is now "following us on all of our steps."

Sorrell suggested in November that Publicis would be better off merged with IPG, and Levy shot back that Sorrell ought to pay attention to his profit margins.