CEO Koval Exits Publicis Kaplan Thaler

Heads to Legacy, the anti-smoking nonprofit

Robin Koval, the chief executive of Publicis Kaplan Thaler, is leaving 16 months after the merger between Publicis’s New York agency and corporate sibling The Kaplan Thaler Group.

She is joining Legacy, the national public health nonprofit created to advertise the dangers of tobacco use, as president, CEO. Koval will be the second top executive in Legacy's 14-year history, succeeding Cheryl G. Healton. (Legacy's advertising account is in review, affecting both creative and media planning and buying, which are handled by Arnold and PHD, respectively.)

Sources said a search is on for Koval's successor at Publicis Kaplan Thaler.

Koval had been president at Kaplan Thaler Group before she was named CEO of the merged entity, replacing Publicis New York chief Joe McCarthy, a former Johnson & Johnson marketing executive. A search for Koval’s successor at Publicis Kaplan Thaler is already underway, according to sources.

Koval is a co-founder of The Kaplan Thaler Group, joining in 1997 as chief marketing officer. She became president in 2005.