It is not necessary “no massive distributions” in dividends to shareholders “but not to put the investors to the dry bread either”, said Wednesday February 17 on franceinfo Maurice Lévy, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Publicis Groupe. In the midst of the crisis linked to the Covid-19 epidemic, his group decided to halve the payment of dividends.
“The dividend problem is very complicated, because what is key is not only the remuneration of shareholders, but also the support of the course”, details Maurice Lévy. “When a company does not pay its shareholders well enough, it can be depreciated on the stock market and become an object of envy. So it is absolutely essential that there is a good balance, it is necessary to make investors want to invest, to support the company “, believes the businessman. He recalls that the majority of the capital of CAC companies is “held by Anglo-Saxon funds.”
We must therefore pay them if we do not want to be depreciated and become the object of envy.Maurice Levy
His group, Publicis, which he led as CEO before taking the chairmanship of the supervisory board, has halved the payment of dividends. “It was not appreciated, the investors criticized us for it”, says Maurice Lévy. “We did, but we still made a gesture, not giving dividends at all seems excessive to me.” His group “is doing pretty well”, he specifies, with “a very satisfactory financial year 2020, among the best in the sector”, and he thinks that for the year 2021 “it’s not too bad a start”.
Asked about the drop in his annual compensation by 30% last year, Maurice Lévy does not know if he will do it again this year. He feels he has no lesson to teach other business leaders. “A lot of bosses haven’t waited to adjust or drop some of their pay. I believe bosses, on the whole, are very responsible.”, says the advertiser. He believes that in terms of compensation and decision-making, “there is a taking of responsibility which is much greater” in France “than in the rest of the Western world. French companies are very far from being conducted in a brutal, American-style manner. There is always a balance between responsibility towards the market and that towards vis-à-vis other stakeholders. “