How Havas has spun its web around Emmanuel Macron

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Havas, the communications, marketing and advertising giant owned by French billionaire businessman Vincent Bolloré, has for long played a key role in French politics, steering PR campaigns for both the rising stars and those who have fallen from grace. But its main political influence lies within the machine of government, where it guides ministerial strategies and former staff find new careers as senior advisors and heads of communications departments. As Mathieu Magnaudeix and Ellen Salvi report, with the election of Emmanuel Macron the network of the “Havas boys”, as one former minister described them, has never been more active at the heart of power.

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Its name invariably pops up at the heart of major political events in France. Even when it was placed at a relative distance during the 2012-2017 presidency of François Hollande who, according to French journalists Aurore Gorius and Michaël Moreau in their book Les Gourous de la com’  (“The communications gurus”) held it in “manifest detestation”, it continued to maintain its presence within the machine of government.