The network has not yet announced a replacement for Talbot, who is one the region's longest serving CEOs, having led the network for the past nine years. He leaves his post at the end of August.
Talbot—who was named Regional Agency Head of the Year by Media magazine (now Campaign Asia-Pacific) in 2009—began his career at Optimedia in the UK, and moved to Hong Kong in 2004 to become ZenithOptimedia’s first chief executive for Asia-Pacific.
Last year, ZenithOptimedia reported US$369 million in new billings, an increase of close to 40 per cent year-on-year. The agency consistently ranked among the top players in R3's New Business League, finishing 2012 in fourth place.
It is understood that Talbot will remain in the region and act as an independent consultant to companies in Asia.
He said he was proud of the growth ZenithOptimedia had achieved over the course of his tenure, but that it was “the right time to move on to new adventures”.
“Everybody knows of my passion for Asia, its richness and diversity of culture and people that I find continually motivating,” he said in a statement issued by the agency. “Each day I get to hear about a new business idea in the region and moving forward I intend to get actively involved in some of these entrepreneurial opportunities and still be part of Asia’s continuing economic success.”
In the same statement, Steve King, the network’s worldwide chief executive, paid tribute to Talbot’s “energy and drive”. “Everybody at ZenithOptimedia knows of Phil's unrivalled commitment, integrity and loyalty to the network. His energy and drive—particularly over the past nine years in Asia—has been enormous. However, I fully respect his decision to leave the network and to focus on the next move in his career. Phil leaves with the enormous gratitude and good wishes from everyone at ZenithOptimedia and Publicis Groupe,” he said.
King added that Talbot would remain with the network for the next three months to “ensure a smooth transition”.