NEW YORK: Paul Newman has stepped down as MSLGroup’s president of North America, the firm said on Monday. Global CFO Peter Miller is taking over the position on an interim basis.
Newman’s last day at the agency is Monday, according to an email from MSLGroup CEO Olivier Fleurot to employees in North America. He said Newman decided to leave the firm to be closer to his family in Boston.
Before Newman joined MSL as president in March 2014, he told PRWeek that he would be living in New York City during the week and commuting to his Boston home on weekends.
He succeeded Renee Wilson, who moved into the role of chief client officer, as president of North America. Wilson was named North American president in August 2012, replacing Jim Tsokanos, who had held the position since 2007.
"I thank [Newman] for his nearly 18 months of service to our firm," Fleurot wrote in the email. "As [Newman] shared during the recent mid-year North America town hall, the North America region has made good progress against its 2015 business priorities, and we appreciate [his] overseeing that effort."
Fleurot added in the message that the change is unrelated to parent company Publicis Groupe’s decision to align MSLGroup more closely with Publicis Worldwide.
At the end of June, the holding company said Publicis Worldwide president Arthur Sadoun will take on director supervision of MSLGroup, while Fleurot will step into an SVP role at Publicis Groupe on September 1.
Maurice Levy, chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, said at the time that the alignment is not about merging the two businesses, but rather creating "a new integrated approach."
In Fleurot’s email to staffers on Monday, he wrote that Newman asked him to share some thoughts, including that he has "grown to appreciate our employees’ strong passion and outstanding commitment to their work."
Global social media and digital lead Stephanie Agresta and Matt Dickman, SVP and global digital and social strategy director, also recently left MSLGroup.
MSLGroup representatives declined further comment on Newman’s departure on Monday.
Prior to joining MSL, Newman served as eBay’s VP of communications, where he ran international corporate communications, consumer PR, and employee comms. He also spent 14 years at Weber Shandwick, served as head of global communications at Novartis Vaccines, and worked for Gillette both before and after its $57 billion acquisition by Procter & Gamble.
This story was updated on August 4.