Pak and Arbez leaving Grey, creative direction moving to New York

Grey Canada is making big changes at the top. Helen Pak, president and chief creative officer, and Joel Arbez, executive creative director, are both leaving the agency, with creative direction taken over by New York-based global executive CD Emiliano Gonzalez De Pietri.

Grey said the changes are part of its move toward a “borderless” network model. Its parent company WPP has made a number of significant changes to its agencies in recent months as it works to simplify structures and cut costs.

Owen Dougherty, Grey Group’s New York-based chief communications officer, told The Message that Pak and Grey Canada CEO Marc Lanouette came up with restructuring plan after Pak “expressed a desire to take some time off and look for a new challenge.” He said Pak will stay on with Grey for a few months to help with the transition.

De Pietri will be in Canada regularly, and the changes will enable Grey Canada to take on more creative work from across the Grey global network, he said.

“Emiliano Gonzalez is one of our top talents with a great track record for us in Latin America and New York overseeing creative on global accounts,” he said. “So Emiliano can and will take on the CCO role in Canada and maintain his responsibilities in New York.”

Other changes for Grey Canada will see James Ansley, executive creative director, and Nicole Lupke, director of client services, promoted to co-managing directors, reporting to Lanouette. Karen Lee has also been promoted to SVP, client services and growth, while Ian Westworth was promoted to head of planning and effectiveness.

“For Grey, being borderless is not solely about geography, it is the ability to access the best talent around the world in real time,” said Michael Houston, worldwide CEO of Grey Group in a release. “Emiliano’s leadership together with our new team at Grey Canada will enhance our creativity and speed to market.”

“This new leadership structure will enable the Grey Canada team to truly leverage the talent and resources in our global network and work beyond our borders,” said Lanouette. “It positions our Canada operations to serve as a creative hub for all of Grey.”

The changes in Toronto come a few months after Grey closed its Vancouver office.

David Brown