Martin will however continue to serve in an advisory capacity until the end of 2019. His decision to step down, made earlier this year, brings a close to his 13-year association with WPP, after the holding group bought his Public Strategies firm in 2006. Martin founded Public Strategies in 1988, building it into one of the country's strongest public affairs and reputation management consultancies.
DeSalva becomes the third current female leader of a top 10 PR firm. She will report directly to WPP CEO Mark Read.
A healthcare and corporate specialist, DeSalva spent six years leading worldwide healthcare for H+K and GCI before working for the US FDA. In 2009 she joined Pfizer as corporate affairs VP, becoming chief communications officer of DuPont in 2014. In her most recent role, she helped guide communications around DuPont’s $130bn merger with Dow, before leaving the company earlier this year.
DeSalva also currently serves as vice chairman of the board of directors of XPO Logistics and as a member of the Board of Governors of Argonne National Laboratory.