For the first time in its nearly 20-year history, John St. has a new creative leader, with the appointment of Cher Campbell as chief creative officer on Thursday.
Campbell replaces Angus Tucker, who, along with Stephen Jurisic, was the creative co-founder of the agency (Jurisic left at the end of 2017). Tucker is stepping away from John St. to focus completely on the Rogers brand as chief creative officer of Theo—the bespoke WPP agency created for Rogers earlier this year.
“Cher has been at this place for four years. And every year she’s put together a bigger and deeper body of work,” said Tucker of his CCO replacement. Campbell has had a leading role in creative for Shoppers Drug Mart, President’s Choice, No Name, Winners/TJX, No Frills and Real Canadian Superstore.
“I think what impresses me most about Cher is just the ability to handle the strain and stress that comes with being a CCO of an agency, particularly an agency the size of ours with the kind of clients that we have,” he said. “These are big Canadian clients with a lot of eyes on the work.”
Determining their successors has been an important focus for the agency’s founding partners for a few years now. “You want to be thinking about [succession planning] well in advance, because you don’t want to go, ‘Okay, I’m out of here in three months, who are we going to pick up?'” said Tucker.
He’s been contemplating stepping away from John St. for some time now, and knew he had found a strong replacement in Campbell. “There was really no other choice that I was thinking about,” he said.
The pair had been working closely together, even sharing an office (remember offices?) and developing a deep understanding of the creative direction of both the agency and its clients, said Campbell. “So when Angus started to head up Theo, it was just sort of natural for me to step into the accounts that he had been spearheading at that time.”
Supporting Campbell will be a team of seven creative directors across the agency, including creative and design, which reflects a restructuring undertaken by the agency when former head of design Mo Bofill left earlier this year.
“We decided that we would do is bring all departments together under one team, so no creative and design, just a creative department,” said Campbell. That move to “un-silo” the business was driven by a desire to solve clients’ business problems with the best possible solution, rather than trying to find a “design” or “creative” solution, she said.
Meanwhile, at Theo, Tucker has hired two executive creative directors—Mike Lee and Sanya Grujicic, formerly of FCB—to lead the creative department which has grown to about 30 people now. Grujicic worked for Tucker at John St. for more than four years.
The agency hasn’t produced any new brand work yet, but has put out a steady stream of product and retail creative for various Rogers sub-brands like Connected Home, Pro-On-The-Go, and the 5G network.