Maria Luisa Francoli Plaza, global CEO of Havas media agency MPG, is leaving the Barcelona-based firm after 20 years.
Ms. Francoli Plaza did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Havas has declined to comment at this time about her departure and the firm's plans for a successor.
The move comes just months after she appointed Lori Hiltz as CEO of North America. Ms. Francoli Plaza had previously overseen the region herself, from the New York office, since 2010. After appointing Ms. Hiltz, she said that she had planned to resume her global role and move back to her home in Spain.
News of her departure also follows a number of recent leadership changes at the firm's Paris-based holding company. Arnold CEO Andrew Benett is taking on the new role of global president of Havas Worldwide, and Arnold President Robert LePlae succeeded Mr. Benett. Colleen DeCourcy is also leaving her role at Socialistic, the agency she founded with the backing of Havas, to join independent network Wieden & Kennedy. Havas will retain the Socialistic brand under social agency Cake, Ad Age reported yesterday.
It's unclear whether Ms. Francoli Plaza's departure is related to any of the Havas changes. But it should have a profound impact on MPG, given her years in the top role. According to the Ad Age DataCenter, MPG's 2011 revenue grew 9.3% year-over-year to $593.3 million. The U.S. business is much smaller, accounting for only $77.3 million in revenue in 2011. Sears is one of the firm's largest clients in the U.S., and the firm also lists Danone, Reckitt Benckiser and LVMH among its global clients on its website.
Ms. Francoli Plaza joined MPG in 1993, working in corporate development, where she was responsible for new markets and business development. Four years later, she established MediaContacts, the company's interactive and digital network. She was named CEO of the Media Planning network in 2003 and a few years later took on the role of global CEO of MPG. Soon after, she relocated from Spain to the U.S.