Laura Desmond has retired from Publicis Groupe, following a sabbatical from her role as chief revenue officer due to a family health issue.
Desmond, whose resignation will be effective from 31 December, was appointed in December 2015,to develop strategies for Groupe and business transformation, as well as leading the Groupe’s global client leaders.
Prior to her current role, Desmond served as global chief executive officer of Starcom Mediavest Group, working with Samsung, Bank of America, Visa, Coca-Cola, as well as new establishment brands such as Airbnb and Twitter.
“I am very grateful to Maurice Levy and everyone at Publicis Groupe for their support during my leave. The family health issue is significantly better,” said Desmond. “This sabbatical allowed me to consider where my greatest entrepreneurial and leadership opportunity existed.
“After thoughtful reflection and discussions with Maurice, I have concluded this is the right step for me. I leave the Groupe with nothing but thanks and appreciation for the opportunities and support I’ve received throughout my career and during my leave.”
Chief strategist Rishad Tobaccowala has covered Desmond’s responsibilities during her leave and will continue in this role as strategy and growth officer. He has 33 years of experience in marketing and has worked with Leo Burnett, Starcom, SMG Next, Starcom IP, Giant Step, Play, and Denuo.
“We are all very grateful to Laura for her many important contributions to Publicis Groupe and are sorry to see her go,” said Publicis Groupe chairman and chief executive officer Maurice Levy. “I know that Laura will continue to be as incredibly successful in the future as she has been with us. With my colleagues of the Management Board we wish her only the very best.”
Publicis Media UK’s chief executive officer Amanda Morrissey has also announced the appointment of Rachel Forde from P&G United managing director to the role of chief executive officer at Mediavest UK. Nigel Waring, who has been leading the agency on an interim basis, is appointed Mediavest chief operating officer.
“Under our dynamic Publicis Media structure, Rachel and Nigel will drive a distinct agency proposition for Mediavest that will deliver greater business transformation and results for their clients,” commented Morrissey. “I can’t wait to start working with Rachel and Nigel in their new roles and I couldn’t think of a better team to lead Mediavest into this exciting new era for the agency.”
Watch our interview with Starcom Worldwide global president Lisa Donohue and Airbnb global director of online marketing and media Paul Jeszenszky at Festival of Media Global here.