She will leave her role on 1 July and return on 1 January 2017. During this time, Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategist, will take over Desmond’s responsibilities.
Desmond took on her current role in December last year. She also leads Publicis Groupe’s chief client officers and works to "simplify and accelerate" client communications.
Maurice Lévy, chairman and chief executive at Publicis Groupe, said: "Laura has been dedicated to Publicis Groupe for her entire career, successfully driving transformation, growth and impact for the Groupe and its clients.
"We fully support her taking this needed time to support her family and look forward to her return at the start of next year."