Kaplan Thaler Names Koval President

NEW YORK The Kaplan Thaler Group said it has named Robin Koval president, marking the first time an executive has held that title at the Publicis Groupe-owned agency.

Koval, 50, had joined the shop in 1997 as chief marketing officer and general manager following an introduction to Linda Kaplan Thaler set up by Clairol, then a client of Interpublic Group’s Gotham in New York, where Koval previously worked.

During Koval’s tenure, New York-based Kaplan Thaler has grown from six employees to more than 150.

As president, Koval’s responsibilities for managing the agency, steering its strategy and expanding new business will not change. She also continues to oversee Clairol, one of the shop’s first and most important pieces of business. That assignment includes the Herbal Essences and Aussie brands.

The title is more a signal to “the outside world,” Koval said. “The agency has grown so much in the last two years. It just seemed that we needed to provide a little more clarification in terms of the management structure. It has to do with helping new clients understand that there’s a strong management structure in the agency and clear reporting lines.”

Koval said that going forward, she would concentrate on developing programs to enhance the lives, training and resources of agency employees. She also plans to add additional services for clients, such as last year’s launch of KTG Buzz, a “word-of-mouth” marketing unit within the agency.

“She has been an invaluable creative partner with a keen understanding of how even the most unorthodox approach will benefit both a brand and a client,” said Linda Kaplan Thaler, agency CEO and chief creative officer, in a statement.

The shop’s billings are about $850 million, and in addition to Clairol, it works for clients such as Aflac, Pfizer, U.S. Bank, Foxwoods and Continental Airlines. In 2005, the agency has added Revlon, Church & Dwight and Marshalls.

A graphic designer by training, Koval began her advertising career at Benton & Bowles on Procter & Gamble. She has also worked at Campbell Mithun Esty.