Release Date:

October 18, 2013

Robin Koval

Washington, D.C– Following a nationwide search, Robin Koval has been appointed Legacy’s next chief executive.  Ms. Koval joins the foundation as the second President and CEO in the nonprofit’s 14-year history, succeeding Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH.  Ms. Koval is a leader in the field of advertising and brand-building, and is an ideal fit for the award-winning Legacy, whose social norm changing truth® campaign has been hailed as a model in changing knowledge, attitudes and beliefs surrounding tobacco use and helping to drive down teen smoking to its lowest rates in decades.

Legacy Board Chair, Lawrence Wasden, Attorney General of the State of Idaho, welcomed Ms. Koval, saying, “Robin has had a remarkable 25-year career in leading national brands and we are extremely excited about her vision for taking Legacy’s life-saving campaigns to the next level in our second decade.” 

Ms. Koval most recently served as the CEO of Publicis Kaplan Thaler – a leading advertising firm in New York. Among her many awards, she was the 2011 recipient of the New York Women in Communications Matrix Award and a Women's Venture Fund Highest Leaf Award.  She was also recognized in 2011 by Advertising Age as one of its “Most Influential Women in Advertising.” Self-Made Magazine has also named Koval one of its Top 50 “Women Entrepreneurs Who Inspire.” She has been honored with the “Working Mother of the Year Trailblazer Award” by Women of New York. 

"As a marketing leader, I have been a long-time admirer of Legacy and the behavior changing impact of the truth®campaign,” said Koval.  “To be given the opportunity to evolve Legacy's counter-marketing efforts for a new generation of youth in an environment of ever-increasing communication complexity is an honor and the opportunity of a lifetime. I see this as a natural and very purpose-driven extension of my many years working for healthcare brands and cause-related programs," she said.

Ms. Koval is a renowned innovator, marketing strategist and business leader, representing national and global brands in nearly every category. She is also a successful entrepreneur, having co-founded the Kaplan Thaler Group from a fledgling start-up in 1997 to a billion-dollar agency that merged with Publicis New York in 2012 to create Publicis Kaplan Thaler. 

Committed to public service, she has developed campaigns and provided counsel to a number of nonprofit, cause-related and healthcare clients and organizations. With the Girl Scouts, she helped lead an award-winning campaign to encourage girls to stay involved in math, science and technology. On the issue of underage drinking, she led a campaign that encouraged parents to speak to their children and young teens about the risks of underage drinking. Other efforts include projects with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the Red Cross, and work with childhood asthma.

Ms. Koval is a best-selling author of three books,The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness;The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference and Bang! Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World.  She is a sought-after speaker, making appearances on network television programming like ABC’s Good Morning America and Nightline, NBC’s Today and The Martha Stewart Show.

Ms. Koval earned her BFA from Syracuse University and an MBA from Baruch College. She is a current member of the board of directors of Partnership With Children, a nonprofit organization that works with troubled and under-served children in the New York City school system by providing social and emotional learning services (   

“Robin’s decades of success in leading innovative campaigns and connecting consumers with brands make her uniquely qualified to lead Legacy,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association and a Legacy Board Member  “We look forward to working closely with her as she takes the helm in leading bold, life-saving tobacco control programs that work,” she said.     

"Robin and her team have done fantastic work for the Ad Council on a number of important public service issues over the years," said Peggy Conlon, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Advertising Council. "Robin's creativity, passion and commitment to cause-related issues will be a fantastic fit for her future work with Legacy - an established innovator.  We look forward to seeing the fruits of that partnership, and the many ideas she will bring to the table that could help save lives and raise awareness of the ongoing impact of tobacco use in our country."


Legacy helps people live longer, healthier lives by building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Legacy’s proven-effective and nationally recognized public education programs include truth®, the national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth smoking; EX®, an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. To learn more about Legacy’s life-saving programs, visit

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