Meet the top executives leading advertising giant Publicis' turnaround as it takes on rivals WPP and Omnicom

  • Publicis, which owns advertising and PR agencies like Leo Burnett and MSL, is the third-largest ad holding company in the world by revenue, with clients including Disney, Mondelez, and Kraft Heinz.
  • The company struggled during the pandemic but bounced back in late 2020 to outperform larger rivals WPP and Omnicom.
  • Insider identified 29 of the most influential executives at the company under Arthur Sadoun.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Publicis is one of the oldest and biggest marketing businesses in the world. Founded as an ad agency in 1926 by 20-year-old Parisian Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, it grew to become a top global firm after World War II, thanks to its close ties to the French government.

Publicis agencies created classic campaigns like "You're in good hands with Allstate," "Labour isn't working," and "Come fly the friendly skies." They now market everything from Heinz ketchup to NBC's prime-time lineup.

Former IT exec Maurice Lévy took over for Bleustein-Blanchet in 1987 and started a decades-long acquisition spree, buying big agencies like Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi and consulting and data firms Sapient and Epsilon. In 2017, he handed the reins to Arthur Sadoun, a former account executive and heir apparent to the Publicis empire who's been described as "the Emmanuel Macron of Madison Avenue."

Publicis brought in $11.9 billion in 2019 to WPP's $16 billion and Omnicom's $14.29 billion. It employs about 84,000 people around the world and has clients like Disney, Samsung, Mercedes-Benz, McDonald's, and Pfizer.

Like its rivals, the company cut salaries and staff as clients slashed budgets in the pandemic. But Publicis bounced back with a string of new business wins in late 2020 and closed the year with its shares trading above pre-pandemic prices.

Sadoun recently said Publicis "has always maintained its independence," but in 2013 it announced plans to merge with Omnicom and create what would have been the largest ad agency network before that deal fell apart. Rumors of private equity sale talks swirled in early 2021, prompting a quick denial from Publicis.

This alphabetical list of 29 executives who've played key roles during the pandemic is based on conversations with current and former Publicis insiders as well as financial reports and news releases.

Emmanuel André, chief talent officer, Publicis

Publicis insiders say Sadoun relies on a small group of core advisors and takes a hands-on approach to the business, often swooping in to lead everything from internal comms to pitches and client relations. Emmanuel André is the CEO's oldest confidante, and his influence goes well beyond his formal role at the company.

Long before Sadoun came to lead Publicis, the two friends worked together at TBWA, an agency owned by rival Omnicom; both started in account management and moved up to leadership positions. Two months after Sadoun took over Publicis, he brought on André in the newly-created chief talent officer role as his first significant hire.

On paper, André's primary job is to oversee all Publicis executive training programs and help onboard new leaders. But one former exec says he specializes in bringing Sadoun's most colorful ideas to life. When the CEO wanted a big rollout for AI tool Marcel and a virtual 2020 holiday program starring Michelle Obama, Disney's Bob Iger, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Sadoun chose André to organize the show, according to the former exec.

Two other execs say André is also the godfather of Sadoun's daughter, and there's an understanding within the company that the most effective way to communicate with the CEO is often through the CTO. When André's not busy serving as Sadoun's chief assistant, his passion is hitting the open road on his vintage Triumph motorcycle.

Teresa Barreira, CMO, Publicis Sapient

Teresa Barreira was key to making 2020 a turnaround year for Sapient, which Publicis acquired in 2015 for $3.7 billion to compete against the big digital consulting firms.

Sapient proved a hard sell at first, and its role in the Publicis network has not always been clear. But insiders say the rapid shift to e-commerce during the pandemic has made its services increasingly relevant as clients race to compete with Amazon with their own digital platforms.

Barreira joined Sapient in 2018 after holding top marketing roles at Accenture and Deloitte. Her primary goal has been to educate Publicis clients and leaders in different industries about Sapient's work. The firm almost never participates in traditional pitches, but insiders say Barreira's skill in opening doors has led to new business opportunities.

One example of her collaborative style is the How Channel, a streaming project launched in late 2020 that invites leaders from companies like Square and Whole Foods to participate in both short explainer-style videos and private events that provide exclusive access to Publicis execs.

Justin Billingsley, CMO, Publicis

Justin Billingsley joined Publicis in 2009 to lead Saatchi & Saatchi in China and has risen to become another member of Arthur Sadoun's small group of advisers.

Insiders say he shares the CEO's passion for chasing growth and earned Sadoun's trust after leading 2018's successful Mercedes pitch, then running a division dedicated to the auto giant.

Billingsley became Publicis' first global CMO as the pandemic struck, charged with promoting the company brand around the world while overseeing major new business pitches. He's since reshaped the internal communications department to help get Publicis' message out to the public. Insiders say he was behind a recent decision to drop the word "Groupe" from the company to broaden its appeal.

"Justin knows how to make the trains run," according to a top executive who says Sadoun sometimes speaks to Billingsley four or five times a day. The leaders of each country and region within Publicis report to him.

Insiders call Billingsley extremely ambitious, and he's helped Publicis rack up a string of wins in recent months, including Sephora, Kraft Heinz, and L'Oréal's $800 million Chinese media account. But Publicis came up empty in the recent big-budget Walgreen's, JPMorgan Chase, and T-Mobile reviews, and another recently departed exec says longtime client Samsung will be another big test when its postponed review starts again.

Chris Boothe, US CEO, global brand president, Spark Foundry

As a 34-year Publicis veteran, Chris Boothe is one of the most powerful executives on Publicis' media side, which accounts for a majority of its revenue.

In 2018, he was promoted to US CEO and later global brand president of media agency Spark Foundry, managing around 3,000 employees in more than 60 countries. Boothe is widely respected among Publicis leaders, who credit him with turning Spark Foundry into its most important media brand after the 2016 merger of Spark and Mediavest. 

Insiders say that, while rival WPP's GroupM is the largest global media-buying operation, Publicis Media is the biggest in the US. Spark Foundry leads that group, with clients like Mondelez, Marriott, and NBCUniversal.

Since his promotion, Boothe has been tasked with other projects like folding agency Blue 449 into Spark Foundry. He works closely with Publicis Media CEO of the Americas Tim Jones and global COO Steve King, the most powerful names in Publicis Media.

Nick Colucci, executive chairman, Publicis Health, COO, Publicis Communications

Nick Colucci has been a key player in Publicis' healthcare division since he helped establish it in 2003. He was promoted to president and CEO four years later as pharmaceutical clients began to play a more important role to holding companies. 

Colucci, who spent years in marketing and sales at Roche before joining Publicis, moved into the executive chairman role in 2018 and took on the responsibility of helping to reshape Publicis' creative network in the US during a series of agency mergers and leadership changes as COO.

One insider says Colucci's influence has grown during the pandemic because he oversees key elements of the transition to remote work. While not a public-facing figure, Colucci handles a large portion of the behind-the-scenes mechanics that make Publicis run, including some of the talent and resource management duties surrounding AI platform Marcel.

Ric Elert, president and COO, Epsilon

CEO Brian Kennedy leads performance marketing firm Epsilon, Publicis' most expensive acquisition. But a top exec says Ric Elert, who previously ran the company's ad tech division, Conversant, attends all high-level meetings and serves as Publicis' go-to expert for helping clients navigate in-the-weeds subjects like identity resolution and the post-cookie ad targeting landscape.

Elert's responsibilities have expanded since the acquisition. When corporate leaders need a Publicis-level perspective on the top issues facing digital marketers, they most often turn to him for guidance, according to an Epsilon exec.

When Publicis spent $4.4 billion to acquire Epsilon in 2019, leadership was determined to avoid the $1.5 billion write down that followed its Sapient purchase by quickly integrating it into Publicis to differentiate the company's data capabilities in new business pitches.

Publicis now says Epsilon sits at the core of its global operations, though several insiders confirmed that around 90% of Epsilon's revenue comes from media planning and buying in the US. Still, Arthur Sadoun and others credit the acquisition with helping Publicis beat out its rivals to win big accounts like Disney.

Lauren Hanrahan, CEO, Zenith

Lauren Hanrahan is the youngest CEO at Publicis, leading its second-largest media agency, Zenith. She also leads digital specialty firm Moxie and social media-focused MRY.

Prior to being promoted in 2019, Hanrahan served as global head of business development for Publicis Media, where she oversaw big new business wins from Molson Coors, Marriott, and GlaxoSmithKline.

More recently, she led Publicis Media's successful pitch for Disney's global parks and Disney+ business and later expanded that account by winning US ad planning and buying for Hulu. 

One insider says these wins, combined with Hanrahan's leadership of the youth-focused digital properties, have earned the confidence of Arthur Sadoun, Steve King, and Tim Jones, making her a rising star within the company.

Anne-Gabrielle Heilbronner, secretary general, Publicis

As a member of Publicis' four-person management board, Anne-Gabrielle Heilbronner is the company's highest-ranking female leader. 

As secretary general, she oversees some of Publicis' most critical functions such as internal audits, risk management, and compliance with international regulations as well as managing procurement, or the company's relationships with third-party vendors. 

Heilbronner's responsibilities have expanded since she was appointed to the board in 2012. Arthur Sadoun named Heilbronner, a longtime champion of women in the workplace, to lead Publicis' corporate social responsibility efforts and its Women's Forum for the Economy and Society group. The group brings an estimated 1,500 executives together in Paris each year to discuss gender equality issues.

Heilbronner previously held several top roles in the French government, working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and banking supervisory group Inspection Générale des Finances.

Tim Jones, CEO of the Americas, Publicis Media

Tim Jones is the most quietly influential person at Publicis in the US and deeply trusted by leaders to carry out its plans, according to insiders.

"He's a man of great power, but he doesn't show it," one exec says.

Around 60% of Publicis' total revenue comes from the US. But the US is also the only country that doesn't currently have its own CEO, because the market is so complex. Jones leads the US-based executive committee, which has expanded its power during the pandemic, and insiders say he shares the unofficial US CEO role with Arthur Sadoun. All US-based Publicis Media agency CEOs also report to him.

The UK native spent 25 years with Zenith before being promoted to CEO of Publicis Media in the Americas in 2016. He's considered the driving force behind Publicis Media Exchange, a group launched that year to manage programmatic trading and digital investments for clients. An insider says he also recently led the integration of Epsilon into US media agency operations so Publicis can use the firm's data resources to deliver specific results for clients.

Despite rumors that Sadoun might give Jones the US CEO title, a third exec says he's happy where he is — and that his influence has only increased over the past six months.

Brian Kennedy, CEO, Epsilon

Brian Kennedy has held C-suite titles at Epsilon since the mid-90s, when it was a direct mail subsidiary of Alliance Data Systems Corporation.

Kennedy has played a critical role in helping Epsilon grow after Publicis acquired it in 2019 while also trying to get more of its clients to work with the holding company and vice versa. Around 80% – 90% of Epsilon's clients don't currently work with Publicis.

One executive calls Kennedy a quiet man with a clear understanding of data and precision marketing's increasingly important place in the ad industry. The CEO, this person says, sits on the Publicis executive committee and appears at key events and client meetings, but often defers to other Epsilon leaders, such as COO Ric Elert and CMO Jeff Fagel, as subject matter experts.

Kennedy doesn't just share Elert's passion for data. The two also play guitar together in the company's Chicago house band.

Annette King, UK CEO, Publicis

As Publicis started naming countrywide CEOs in 2017, Arthur Sadoun made waves in the UK by hiring Annette King, who'd been CEO at rival WPP agency Ogilvy, to run its second-largest market.

Publicis employs around 5,000 people in the UK, and insiders say the country accounts for just under 10% of global revenue. A top exec says that nothing happens in the UK without the approval of King, who sits on the management committee reporting to Sadoun.

Several people say the UK's standing has fallen since Publicis became the first holding company to confirm layoffs and executive pay cuts there in April. But pay returned in September sooner than expected, and King remains one of the most powerful executives in Europe.

King has been a vocal advocate for equal pay. In a 2019 report about Publicis' most recent gender equality programs, she cited the hires of several female executives but acknowledged that a pay gap persists.

Ros King, EVP, global client lead, Publicis

In 2018, Publicis started creating divisions dedicated to single clients that draw talent from different agencies. Publicis Imagine, for example, handles the Disney account.

The company hired Ros King, former head of marketing for UK banking giant Lloyd's, to oversee all those teams and its relationships with other major clients the following year. She sits on the management committee and reports to Arthur Sadoun. The global leaders of accounts like Procter & Gamble and Mondelez report to her.

King's job involves helping clients make the most of Publicis' resources, from updating them on the latest internal changes to inviting them to webinars and making sure they have access to all relevant services during the pandemic.

Perhaps most importantly, she's key to organizing the company's biggest new business pitches. Since most other Publicis board members have been with the company for years, she is one of the most powerful recent hires.

Before joining Lloyd's, she oversaw Ogilvy's relationship with longtime client American Express and led the account management team at IPG's McCann Worldgroup.

Steve King, COO, Publicis

Steve King is the number three global executive at Publicis, behind only Arthur Sadoun and Maurice Lévy.

Insiders say he was one of the final candidates to succeed Lévy in 2017.

The 35-year Publicis vet rose to CEO of Zenith before being promoted to run all of Publicis Media in 2016 and global chief operating officer three years later.

Insiders say King still runs Publicis Media, whose second-highest-ranking exec Tim Jones reports to him, but Sadoun and Lévy now trust him with responsibilities beyond that side of the business. For example, he has led the global expansion of Publicis' e-commerce and content production practices, and made it easier for all Publicis companies to offshore certain work to India through Sapient.

One top executive says King and Sadoun don't always see eye to eye. King focuses on scaling the company globally while Sadoun approaches growth on more of a country-by-country basis. But King's seniority, deep industry connections, and loyalty to Publicis ensure that he will remain at the top of the organization.

Amy Lanzi, EVP, commerce practice lead, Publicis

Publicis beat some rival holding companies to the punch by launching a global e-commerce practice in early 2018.

As the pandemic changed consumer behaviors and made e-commerce even more important to marketers, Amy Lanzi was the name to watch, according to insiders. The former commerce lead for Publicis Media North America was promoted to oversee all related business at the holding company level in January 2020 and later tasked with helping top US clients adapt to the new way of doing business.

She oversees the e-commerce teams at all digital and media agencies and helps big spenders like Coty and GSK navigate top retail platforms such as Amazon, Kroger, and Target's Roundel.

Maurice Lévy, supervisory board chairman, Publicis

Maurice Lévy joined Publicis as IT director in 1971 and became only the second CEO in the company's history in 1987, succeeding founder Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet. Much like former rival Martin Sorrell of WPP, he built the company into a global powerhouse by acquiring dozens of small and large agencies.

In 2017, Lévy officially stepped down as CEO after 30 years and named Arthur Sadoun as his successor. But he remains in many ways the most powerful person in the company, overseeing its global strategy while serving as Sadoun's mentor and the closest adviser to Bleustein-Blanchet's daughter Elisabeth Badinter, Publicis' largest shareholder.

Lévy controls around 2.5% of the voting rights, and staffers say he's become more visible during the pandemic.

The former chief sometimes steps up to lead key projects beyond his perennial guest appearances in satirical company holiday videos. When a troubled WeWork hired Publicis in late 2019 on a $500,000 monthly retainer, Lévy assumed the CMO role for three months.

One top exec says Sadoun and Lévy run Publicis together, with the chairman acting as executive coach, client advisor, and professional ear to the CEO as he focuses on new business.

"Maurice's theory is you stay the boss if all your minions are competing," the exec says.

Helen Lin, chief digital officer, Publicis Media

As head of all things digital at Publicis Media, Helen Lin is Publicis' top connection to major tech companies like Facebook and Google.

She also advises clients of all sizes on where to put their digital dollars and reports to Talia Raviv, global CEO of the company's Media Exchange investment division. Insiders praise her for her expertise on changing trends in paid social during the pandemic. 

"The Googles and Facebooks ask for her, and all clients know her because she can sort through the mess in a moment," says one exec.

Lin, who was formerly managing director at Zenith, advocates for increased diversity in the ad industry with trade groups like Adcolor. She sits on the boards of Publicis' Power of Women resource group and 212NYC, an organization for digital advertising professionals in the New York area.

Diana Littman, US CEO, MSL

Diana Littman has emerged as PR's most powerful executive at Publicis since coming on as MSL CEO in late 2018.

The holding company has not disclosed financial performance by practice during the pandemic, but insiders say PR firms have proven more resilient than creative agencies over the past year. 

As the exec overseeing its largest firm's top market, Littman is the face of the practice and reports directly to Arthur Sadoun.

Under her leadership, MSL has launched an influencer platform and developed an internal tech tool that helps clients like P&G and Cadillac target their content and measure their PR efforts. The tools allow MSL to cut its tech vendor expenses and compete against more traditional marketing agencies, which is part of Publicis' long-term effort to further integrate PR into its other client work.

Littman's expertise in healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing, drawn from 20 years at rival firms BCW and Marina Maher Communications, is particularly valuable as clients like Pfizer as AstraZeneca make up a bigger share of Publicis' business.

Renetta McCann, chief inclusion experience officer, Publicis

Renetta McCann is a Publicis lifer who started her career more than 40 years ago as a trainee at Leo Burnett in Chicago.

After two decades there, becoming its first Black VP and media director, she moved to Starcom, rising to worldwide CEO before taking a sabbatical in 2008. She returned to school to study talent management, then returned to lead HR at Leo Burnett before she rose to head up all of Publicis' D&I efforts.

A former executive calls McCann "Publicis royalty," and others say she wields immense power while avoiding company politics.

Before the pandemic hit, she was chosen to run Publicis' newly formed diversity and inclusion steering committee, which managed the company's response to the George Floyd protests. Now, following the December departure of US chief diversity officer Ronnie Dickerson Stewart, McCann is even more central to D&I operations. 

When McCann announced her sabbatical, she had to shut down rumors that she'd left the ad industry altogether to join President Barack Obama's administration. But she has been politically active throughout her career, and she's so well-known in the Chicago scene that Politico wished her a happy birthday last December.

Dan Murray, CEO, Marcel

Marcel, an AI platform designed to connect all 80,000-plus Publicis employees around the world, has been both a point of pride and a major stumbling block. 

Marcel was an ambitious and controversial move from fledgling CEO Arthur Sadoun. Publicis hired Microsoft and pulled talent from Sapient to build Marcel, whose cost had risen to around $50 million when it debuted two months early in April 2020.

In December, the company hired Dan Murray, former Bed Bath & Beyond and Sapient exec, as Marcel's CEO.

His primary role will be further integrating the platform into all employee functions like career growth, performance reviews, project management, and health and wellness resources. According to its virtual holiday presentation in 2020, Publicis sees Marcel as "the future of work."

Despite some technical hiccups, insiders say Marcel has helped make remote work a reality.

Dave Penski, global chairman, Publicis Media Exchange, US COO, Publicis Media

Dave Penski is another high-profile veteran of Publicis Media. 

He ascended to CEO of media agency Zenith before being promoted to run VivaKi, the trading desk that managed all of Publicis clients' programmatic media buys. When that organization dissolved in 2015, Penski became CEO of its successor, Publicis Media Exchange.

Penski left that role in January 2020 but remains chairman of PMX and COO of the entire Publicis Media organization, working with Tim Jones and Steve King.

Penski is the second-ranking US-based media exec behind Jones. The leaders of digitally-focused agencies such as Rauxa report to him, and his oversight of the flow of money from Publicis clients to publishers and platforms and proximity to top spenders like Disney and Verizon makes him intensely powerful.

Talia Raviv, global CEO, Publicis Media Exchange

Media veteran Talia Raviv became the face of the company's global investment division in January 2020, managing the day-to-day operations of the trading desk embedded within every Publicis media agency.

One insider says she manages around one-third of all money spent by Publicis clients in the US. The heads of investment at Zenith, Spark Foundry, and Starcom report to her.

Raviv previously ran Apex, the PMX exchange dedicated to Zenith, and directed all digital media buys at that agency.

Another exec says Raviv's profile has grown during the pandemic because she advises clients on when and where to move their money. She's the exec Publicis Media calls on when CMOs want to know whether to focus on certain e-commerce platforms, drop national ads for more localized efforts and target areas where stores are still open, or move from buys based on impressions, like pre-roll video, to more performance-focused campaigns on platforms like Instagram.

Jem Ripley, CEO, Publicis Communications East

As CEO of Publicis Communications' eastern division, Jem Ripley oversees the operations of some of its largest agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis New York, retail firm Saatchi X, and P&G One, the Cincinnati-based division dedicated to Procter & Gamble. He also led the relaunch of the Razorfish brand in January 2020.

Ripley spent nearly a decade at Sapient before joining consulting firm Capgemini as North American chief growth officer. Arthur Sadoun brought him back in mid-2019.

Now, Ripley reports directly to Sadoun and works with Andrew Swinand, CEO of Leo Burnett and Publicis Communications Central.

An insider says his profile has risen over the past 18 months because he helps Swinand drive decisions regarding all Publicis Communications agencies' new business efforts in the US.

Jodi Robinson, CEO, Digitas North America

Jodi Robinson is credited with digital marketing and tech firm Digitas' success during the pandemic when many other agencies have struggled.

Robinson worked her way up from accounts to become North American CEO in late 2019 just as Arthur Sadoun placed greater emphasis on the region. She's known within Publicis as an empathetic leader who regularly conducts town halls and communicates on a personal level with staff.

Digitas usually flies under the radar while supporting other agencies' work for big brands and assisting in pitches, but the agency won lead duties for new clients such as Playtex and Samsung in recent months.

Carla Serrano, chief strategy officer, Publicis, CEO, Publicis New York

Carla Serrano is one of CEO Sadoun's closest confidantes, and one exec calls her "the right hand to Arthur."

Serrano started her agency career at TBWA, rising to chief strategy officer and helping win clients like Kraft and GSK before taking the same title at Publicis North America in 2014. She also served as North American CEO at Naked Communications, where she oversaw accounts like NBCUniversal, Mondelez, and Novartis.

In 2016, Serrano was promoted to CEO of the New York office, and her power has grown over the past year as Sadoun shifted his focus to the US.

Several execs say Serrano's day-to-day responsibilities are not always clear but when Sadoun needs guidance on the US business — particularly in New York — she's always on his short list. She has taken the lead on key projects like the mid-2020 rollout of Marcel, granting interviews and sending frequent all-staff memos about platform updates.

Andrew Swinand, CEO, Leo Burnett, CEO, Publicis Communications Central

Andrew Swinand is the most powerful figure on the communications side of Publicis' businesses in the US, according to several top execs.

He manages the global Leo Burnett network and is responsible for new business efforts of other creative and PR agencies like Fallon, BBH, MSL, and Saatchi & Saatchi.

Swinand is an entrepreneur who founded two marketing technology and analytics firms that Publicis acquired when he joined the company. His tech background initially made him seem like an unusual choice to lead the agency behind iconic campaigns like the Marlboro Man, Heinz's "Good things come to those who wait" and "Beef. It's what's for dinner."

But Swinand spent 10 years at Publicis media agency Starcom and had top marketing jobs at Procter & Gamble, and one exec says he brought a sorely needed combination of tech and agency experience to help serve clients' increasingly data-based needs.

Liz Taylor, global chief creative officer, Leo Burnett, chief creative officer, Publicis Communications North America

Insiders say Liz Taylor is Publicis' top creative executive, managing Leo Burnett and overseeing the work of all properties in the North American Communications group.

"There's [Liz] and then there's everyone else," one exec says.

Taylor came aboard in early 2019 as a partner to CSO Carla Serrano and former global CCO Nick Law. Now, she works closely with Andrew Swinand and the creative leaders of other Publicis agencies in its biggest market while also traveling around the world to oversee with Leo Burnett's regional teams.

Taylor brought an extensive agency background to the role, and her digital expertise was particularly important to Publicis as its business moved away from traditional print and TV campaigns. She was previously chief creative officer at the Chicago office of IPG's FCB and led digital and social media work for WPP's Ogilvy.

Taylor is popular with staff and was one of the only creative leaders to present as part of Publicis' 2020 all-company virtual holiday event.

Lisa Torres, president, Cultural Quotient

As president of Publicis Media's multicultural division Cultural Quotient, Lisa Torres oversees agencies' spending with minority-owned media companies and large publishers looking to reach minority audiences.

Her role is particularly important as the US goes through dramatic demographic changes, and she's among top execs who get immediate access to the company's finance and accounting service Re:Sources.

Cultural Quotient handles around $1.7 billion in annual client spending. AdAge estimates that Cultural Quotient brought in $71 million from Hispanic media alone last year and says it has been the largest US-based Hispanic media group since 2012.

Torres is considered "the future of multicultural marketing" and an expert in audience measurement who argued that the Trump administration's proposed addition of a citizenship question to the US Census would harm ad agencies' ability to target ads on behalf of their clients.

Earlier, Torres was president of Zenith's multicultural division. She recently went through a successful battle with stage two breast cancer.

Nigel Vaz, CEO, Publicis Sapient

Nigel Vaz is part of Arthur Sadoun's inner circle as CEO of Publicis Sapient. He helped guide the at-times-bumpy integration of Sapient into Publicis and helped lead its global rebranding in early 2019.

The 21-year Sapient veteran oversees Publicis' consulting work, which has grown more important during the pandemic as clients look to strengthen their digital offerings and the company tries to set itself apart from top firms like Deloitte.

Vaz also brings an important tech perspective to Publicis' executive committee, which consists almost entirely of people with traditional advertising backgrounds. As one insider put it, "Nigel would be working in Silicon Valley" if Sapient hadn't been acquired. 

Sapient has completed projects for big-name clients in recent years like creating The Wall Street Journal's paywall and helping McDonald's update its digital user experience, from drive-through kiosks to mobile apps.

He wrote a forthcoming book titled "Digital Business Transformation: How Established Companies Sustain Competitive Advantage from Now to Next."

Alexandra Von Plato, CEO, Publicis Health

Healthcare marketing accounted for around 10% of Publicis' total revenue in 2019, a number that's poised to rise because pharma and healthcare companies have held up during the pandemic.

Healthcare marketing is a rare bright spot for Publicis, whose clients include Pfizer, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, and Novartis, which means Alexandra Von Plato's role will be even more important as the company looks to take a bigger bite of the global pharma market.

Von Plato spent almost a decade at Digitas Health and Medicus before being promoted to CEO of the entire practice in 2018. She oversees all related agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, Publicis Health Media, and pharma specialist Discovery USA.

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