Publicis Groupe 's MSLGroup announced that Jim Tsokanos, president of North America, is stepping down after 11 years at the firm. Renee Wilson will succeed him in the role starting Sept. 10.
The transition is taking place in the midst of a gender-discrimination lawsuit in which Mr. Tsokanos has been named. Global CEO Olivier Fleurot, who is based in Paris, denied that the move has anything to do with the lawsuit.
"This is truly a management decision by Jim and me and the lawsuit has been going on for more than a year. It might go on for another year," Mr. Fleurot said, emphasizing that the suit is really between MSLGroup and the other parties involved, and not Mr. Tsokanos personally. "We can't depend on what will happen in the lawsuit to make a sound management decision."
Mr. Tsokanos did not immediately respond to a call for comment.
"When I started this new mission of being a global PR network three years ago we had the MSL network based here in New York and other entities around the world. We wanted to be much stronger with a consistent global network around the world," said Mr. Fleurot. "We made a lot of acquisitions and Jim has been great helping me to build a new network. He came [into the role] because he took on more management responsibility, but he felt he was moving away from clients. He's still a young person who wants to have a more entrepreneurial role and be closer to clients. So we felt that after those three years, we're almost complete and we achieved what we wanted to achieve. It's the right time for him to do something else."
Ms. Wilson is currently MSL Group's chief client officer, based in New York, and over the years she has worked closely with many of the firm's largest clients. Mr. Fleurot also noted that she has played a big role in growing the firm's P&G business in the U.S. and globally.