Laura Desmond, chief revenue officer, Publicis Groupe, is taking a six-month sabbatical starting July 1 in order to focus full time on what the holding company described as a “significant family health issue.”
Desmond plans to return to Publicis Groupe on January 1, 2017.
“Laura has been dedicated to Publicis Groupe for her entire career, successfully driving transformation, growth and impact for the Groupe and its clients,” stated Maurice Levy, the Groupe’s Chairman and CEO. “We fully support her taking this needed time to support her family and look forward to her return at the start of next year.”
Desmond was appointed the company’s first CRO last December. The move was part of a broad restructuring across the company that became effective in January. In addition, she leads the Groupe’s chief client officers in an effort to simplify and accelerate the way clients access communications and marketing technology solutions across Publicis Groupe.
Before stepping up to the corporate post, Desmond was global CEO at Starcom Mediavest Group after running that Group’s Americas operation. Earlier she was CEO at Mediavest. During her time at SMG, Desmond orchestrated a growth spurt that more than doubled the size of the operation. She helped reel in numerous blue-chip clients and is credited with forging innovative partnerships with companies including Twitter, Acxiom, Tencent and Facebook, while reaping numerous awards along the way.
During her leave Desmond’s responsibilities will be coordinated by long-time Publicis Groupe veteran Rishad Tobaccowala, currently the holding company’s chief strategist. And Desmond will be working closely with leadership over the next few weeks to ensure an orderly transition while she is away.
“People know how committed I am to my profession and career, but family really does come first,” Desmond stated. “I’m very grateful to Maurice Levy and Publicis Groupe for being the kind of organization that supports people taking time to deal with challenging times. It's a priority for me to be there for my family for the next six months, and then rejoining Publicis Groupe at the beginning of next year.”