The move is effective Oct. 1, and a replacement for Desmond--current CEO of MediaVest USA--will be named in 2007. Until then, she will relinquish some day-to-day duties to other members of her executive team, but continue to hold the reigns of her current position. She'll also retain a leadership role on key accounts, including Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola.
The position was last held by SMG's Worldwide CEO Renetta McCann, to whom Desmond will continue to report.
Desmond was named CEO of MediaVest USA in 2002, following three years as CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group Latin America, where she doubled the region's revenue. During her tenure atop MediaVest, the agency has vastly expanded both its client roster--Coke, Mattel, Comcast, Gillette--and media services.
A two-time winner at last year's MediaPost Creative Media Awards for Kraft and Avon, Desmond has also won recognition as a member of Business 2.0's "Dream Team of Young Executives," and was named both a Media Maven by Ad Age and Media All-Star by Adweek.
She currently manages a workforce of more than 600 employees--a number that will triple in her new role. "Our ability to succeed as a company and for our clients depends largely on our ability to not only adapt but master the social and technological changes that will both challenge and inspire new thinking and solutions," Desmond said in a statement.
Reporting into Desmond will be John Muszynski, chief executive of Starcom USA; Dennis Donlin, president of GM Planworks in Detroit; Ken Zasky, chief executive officer of StarLink; Lauren Richards, CEO of the Canadian operation; Martha Marin, chief executive of SMG's Latin American region; Monica Gadsby, chief executive of Tapestry; and John McNamara, chief executive of Halogen.