LOS ANGELES — Judy Johnson is leaving GolinHarris after 17 years to join Caruso Affiliated as the real-estate company’s first chief marketing and communications officer.

Johnson has led Golin’s Los Angeles office — its largest market after Chicago -- since 2001 when Fred Cook took over the firm’s global leadership. Johnson became Western region head in 2003 and was named regional president in 2012 overseeing clients that include Toyota, Mattel, Nintendo, Nestle, Cisco and Farmer John, as well as work with McDonald’s and ExxonMobil. Johnson’s last day at Golin is next Wednesday. 

GolinHarris has yet to respond to queries on  the agency’s regional leadership plans amid Johnson’s departure. Earlier this year, the Western Region won the HTC business and expanded its relationship with Nestlé USA.

She starts at Caruso Affiliated — considered one of the largest privately-held American real-estate companies — on April 14 as one of four c-level executives within the company and will lead a team of about 20 people. She is overseeing internal and external communications, advertising, public affairs and executive communications for the company’s founder Rick Caruso.

Her duties also include overseeing one of the company’s revenue centers: strategic partnership and alliances, as well as entertainment, such as events that are held on-site at Caruso’s properties like Southern California’s The Grove and The Americana, among others. 

“If you look at their business plans, they have lots of ambitious goals,” Johnson says. “They are looking to double in the next few years and they needed someone on board to help them be more proactive, consistent and have an on-target presence.”