Taaffe, who is based in the company's New York office will leave the organisation after 18 years and will be replaced by global chairman Jack Martin.
Martin said :'I want to thank Paul Taaffe for his more than 18 years at H&K. During the past eight years as chair and chief executive, Paul contributed significantly to its continued success and imprint as a global leader in size, geographic reach and profitability. In addition, he has contributed significantly to the advancement of the communications industry.
'I’m excited that he has agreed to serve as a senior counselor to me and the firm for the next several months as we make this transition, as I know we can all benefit from his insights and wisdom.'
Taaffe has been chief executive since 2003 and prior positions at H&K include president of Hill & Knowlton,, president & CEO of H&K in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and chief executive of Hill & Knowlton UK.