Monica Karo is the new U.S. chief executive of OMD, replacing Alan Cohen, who is leaving the Omnicom Group agency after five years to launch a marketing services company.
Karo, who had been the CEO of sister shop PHD in the U.S., will be succeeded in that role by Robert Habeck, Omnicom Media Group’s executive director of global accounts.
Karo was named to run PHD's U.S. operation in March 2012, taking over from Andrew McLean. Before that, she had been president of integrated accounts at OMD and the lead on its Apple account.
During Karo’s tenure as CEO, PHD grew significantly, adding brands that collectively spend more than $800 million in media annually. Such growth earned the company recognition as Adweek’s 2012 Global Media Agency of the Year.
Habeck joined OMD in 2002 and has held his current position since 2010. Among the global accounts he oversaw were Intel, SC Johnson, HTC and Cisco. His PHD appointment comes as the agency successfully defended its GlaxoSmithKline business in North America and added global communications planning duties.
OMG is taking a stake in Cohen’s new venture, which is called Giant Spoon. The start-up's other founders include Jonathan Haber, Trevor Guthrie and Marc Simons. Haber had been OMD’s chief innovation officer and Guthrie and Simons were East and West Coast directors, respectively, of Ignition Factory, OMD's technology unit.
Cohen, who also has worked at ABC and NBC, had been OMD's U.S. chief since April 2008.
The top management changes occur as industry observers wait to see how Omnicom and Publicis Groupe will organize their combined media operations post merger. Given regulatory approval, the two companies hope to close the deal by early next year.