More changes at Cossette, with departure of McIntosh and Zentil

Less than a month ago, Cossette announced it was starting a “new chapter” with Craig McIntosh and Jaimes Zentil taking over creative leadership for Toronto and Vancouver after the surprising departure of Peter Ignazi.

On Thursday morning, the agency said that both McIntosh (right in top photo) and Zentil (left) are also leaving the agency, with Anthony Atkinson being named executive creative director. He takes over the creative reins on March 18.

A release said that McIntosh and Zentil were “looking to refocus on their own creative output.” However, Broken Heart Love Affair’s Bev Hammond confirmed the pair will be joining the agency as chief creative officers.

Cossette has been at or near the top of Canada’s creative agencies since Ignazi and Carlos Moreno joined from BBDO in 2015, with McIntosh and Zentil joining them a few months later*.

Since then, they have been key contributors to much of the breakthrough, often award-winning work coming out of Cossette for big clients like SickKids Foundation and Walmart.

Now all four of those key creatives have left the agency. Moreno was the first to depart in early 2020, starting Broken Heart Love Affair (with, among others Jay Chaney, who also worked with Zentil and McIntosh at Cossette and was then their client at Koho), with the other three taking their leave within weeks of each other.

Cossette did not immediately respond to requests to speak about the changes with CEO Mélanie Dunn or Daniel Shearer, president for Ontario and West.

“While it’s hard to see friends go, we can only be grateful to Craig and Jaimes for everything we’ve accomplished together—and for always bringing the passion and energy that they’re known for,” said Kathy McGuire, SVP, general manager at Cossette, in the release.

Atkinson (right) joined Cossette in 2019 as creative director, after working there as a writer between 2008 and 2012. In the interim, he spent time in London at Mr. President and Wieden + Kennedy, before returning to Canada and joining Leo Burnett, where he worked from 2016 to 2019.

His work has been awarded at Cannes Lions, D&AD, The One Show, WARC and Effies.

“Beyond his impressive portfolio and skills, what stands out about Anthony is his people-first mindset,” said McGuire in the release. “He’s very dedicated to helping our people grow—which is something we deeply value at Cossette. He has the right balance between a passion for producing outstanding work, and the leadership and experience needed to run our creative team.”

(*This story has been corrected. McIntosh and Zentil joined Cossette from Anomaly, not BBDO as originally stated.)

David Brown