Hickson joins from Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, where he had been the head of TV since April 2002. His appointment is the latest in a series of alterations to Publicis' creative line-up.
Earlier this year, Gerry Moira decided to relinquish control of the creative director position and concentrate on his chairman's role. He was effectively replaced by the Saatchi & Saatchi head of art, Nik Studzinski, who joined Publicis as its executive creative director in June.
Hickson, who will report to Studzinski, previously worked for Propaganda Films in Los Angeles as the vice-president and executive producer. During his stint there, he helped create award-winning commercials for clients such as ESPN, XM satellite radio and Budget car rentals. He also collected the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1998 and 2000.
Before Propaganda, Hickson had spells at WCRS, as the head of TV, and at DMB&B, as a senior producer.
Studzinski said: "To find someone with Colin's level of experience and talent was great. To then find that he didn't have the usual accompanying ego meant we had to offer him a job. He's one of the best producers in town and we're in no doubt that he'll be an invaluable asset to the department and the agency. We can't wait to work with him."
Hickson said: "It was impossible not to be enticed by that heady cocktail of Nik, Publicis and a client list to die for."
As well as its creative changes, Publicis has also recently altered its management structure. The joint chief executive Grant Duncan has taken sole charge of the role, while his former partner in the top job, Derek Morris, has reverted to his original title of chief strategic officer.
In addition, last week Publicis signed the creative team of Jon Robb and Ester Hjellum from HHCL/Red Cell.