Cossette starting a ‘new chapter’ without Peter Ignazi

Cossette is getting new creative leadership with the sudden departure of Peter Ignazi, who has been with the agency for seven years, including the last three as global chief creative officer.

Widely regarded as one of the top creative leaders in Canada, news of Ignazi’s departure came via a short statement from Cossette on Thursday afternoon, which described the change as a “mutual decision.”

“This was a difficult decision to make, but after careful consideration, both Peter and I feel that this is the right time for him to begin a new journey and for Cossette to start its new chapter,” said global CEO Mélanie Dunn. Cossette declined to provide any additional comment or clarification.

Multiple agency executives in Toronto—where word of departures and resignations tends to travel quickly—all expressed surprise at the announcement, including his long-time creative partner at Cossette, Carlos Moreno.

“That passion and leadership will be missed [at Cossette], not only in the work—that’s just one part of it—but all the young talent that he brought in, the clients that he worked on, the leadership and vision for the work,” said Moreno.

Ignazi and Moreno arrived at Cossette from BBDO in 2015, with a reputation as one of the best creative duos in the country. After their arrival, Cossette enjoyed several strong years of creative output, putting the agency at or near the top of most industry rankings multiple times—with breakthrough and often award-winning campaigns for a number of big clients including McDonald’s, General Mills and SickKids.

Moreno left Cossette in early 2020 to co-create a new agency, Broken Heart Love Affair, with Ignazi’s wife Denise Rossetto and another former Cossette colleague, Jay Chaney, while Ignazi stayed on to oversee creative at Cossette on his own.

While Cossette’s creative output has remained strong, the agency also got new ownership last year after Chinese communications company BlueFocus sold its 60% stake to Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and private equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

Cossette said that, as of Feb. 25, Craig McIntosh and Jaimes Zentil will oversee creative in Toronto and Vancouver, while Louis-Philippe Tremblay and Anne-Claude Chénier will lead creative in Quebec and the East.

“During my time at Cossette I was able to surround myself with amazing people and do some of the work I’m most proud of in my career,” said Ignazi in the release. “I feel privileged to have led this group of creative minds and honoured to be part of a team that reached unprecedented heights in this market. I’m still formulating what I want from my next instalment, but I’m excited to have the opportunity to take my time and figure it out.”

—With files from Chris Powell

David Brown