A week after losing CEO to Moderna, Ogilvy Health taps new global chief from parent WPP

Ogilvy Health's new global CEO Kim Johnson said she was attracted to the agency for its health mission and the creativity in its DNA. (Ogilvy Health)

Ogilvy Health named a new global CEO Thursday, just a week after Kate Cronin departed for Moderna. Kim Johnson takes the helm as CEO later this month, moving from parent company WPP, where she was executive vice president of global clients.

Johnson steps in for Cronin, who announced last week she was joining Moderna as its first chief brand officer.

Before joining WPP, Johnson served as president of creative agency GSW, which is part of Syneos Health Communications, and Palio, a then-Syneos agency she helped merge with GSW. She most recently helped launch the WPP Health Community group of health leaders across WPP "to use creativity and technology to accelerate growth and innovation in the sector."

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Johnson was attracted to Ogilvy Health for an “ability to have impact through its work in healthand to be part of the new leadership team and the new energy that you definitely feel in the company today."

Ogilvy Health, and the CEO role, has evolved over the past several years as parent WPP and the agency shifted and reorganized.

In 2018, the parent health company called WPP Health & Wellness, which housed Ogilvy CommonHealth, was retired. The health agency brands under it then became standalones. Ogilvy CommonHealth became Ogilvy Health, while Sudler & Hennessey was absorbed into VMLY&R health and ghg moved into Wunderman Health, which is now called Wunderman Thompson Health.

It's been a bit of musical chairs at the top along the way. Andrew Schirmer, who was then CEO of Ogilvy CommonHealth, became president of Ogilvy Health. He and Cronin led the agency as co-presidents until October 2020, when Cronin became CEO and Schirmer left the company. Now, Schirmer is president at GSW—which, if you’re following along, was the role that incoming Ogilvy Health CEO Johnson held before joining WPP.

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Now, with the organizational and leadership structure in place, Ogilvy Health “is poised for accelerated growth,” Johnson said.

“I’ve always admired that creativity is such a big part of the DNA of Ogilvy, so I’m really looking forward to being part of that and working with partners to deliver great work in health,” she said.