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.