Longtime Publicis media chief Jack Klues -- one of the most powerful and highest-paid media executives on Madison Avenue -- will retire as CEO of its centralized VivaKi unit at the end
of the year.
Klues, who will remain with Publicis Groupe through the first half of 2013, will help oversee a repositioning of VivaKi, which to date has primarily serviced its founding Publicis
shops -- Digitas, Razorfish, Starcom MediaVest and Zenith Optimedia -- to be available more broadly to other Publicis agencies and the market at large.
CFO Frank Voris will succeed Klues as
CEO and work closely with Rishad Tobaccowala, who will remain its Chief Innovation and Strategy Officer.
An executive board will be comprised of SMG CEO Laura Desmond, Zenith
Optimedia CEO Steven King, Razorfish CEO Bob Lord and Voris, marking a noticeable void from Digitas' management in that mix.
Klues, who began his career in the
media department of a pre-Publicis Leo Burnett, was part of the team that spun its media department off into Starcom, which ultimately merged with MediaVest to form one of most highly regarded media
organizations on Madison Avenue.
He was also a chief architect, along with former Digitas CEO David Kenny (now CEO of The Weather Channel) and Tobaccowala, in the
formation of VivaKi.
When the unit was originally founded, the company described it as an "industry-facing" entity that would work behind the scenes with suppliers to
develop new opportunities in digital and traditional media that would benefit Publicis' media and digital shops and their clients. But the agencies would always remain the "client-facing" entities,
insofar as their service goes.
As part of today's announcement, Publicis said VivaKi would be transformed into a broader "platform" for other Publicis agencies, as well
as the "market," as part of Publicis' overall goal to accelerate its "digital transformation."
Details were not disclosed, but the company cited VivaKi innovations, such
as the VivaKi Nerve Center, the Pool and its Audience On Demand trading desk as examples of products and services that would be brought to the general marketpalce to service "clients outside"
Publicis, as well.