Grey Canada has a new creative leadership team in place, with the recent hiring of Mark Mason as executive creative director, and Craig Redmond as creative director.
The change in leadership comes after previous executive creative director James Ansley left the agency earlier this year to take some time away from the business.
“That left us with the opportunity to really look around and see how we wanted to move forward and bolster our creative department,” said Nicole Lupke executive vice-president, general manager at Grey Canada.
Mason had been freelancing with Grey for several years, working on a number of key projects. “We had such a tremendous relationship with him. He has a proven track record and he is phenomenal… we had great experience with Mark and knew that a number of clients really enjoyed working with him,” said Lupke. “When the opening came up, we really didn’t need to look too far.”
Mason is ECD for all of Grey Canada, as well as for the consumer work for sister agency Tank, which is still based in Montreal but officially added a Toronto presence late last year. Before his time as a freelancer, he held creative director roles with a number of leading agencies, including Leo Burnett, MullenLowe Group and TBWA\Chiat\Day.
“I feel fortunate to be stepping into this role, surrounded by great people—together we are expanding the team with talent that will reenergize the hunger to create famously effective work,” said Mason in a release. One of those new talent additions includes Redmond.
He was a CD at Grey Vancouver from 2007 to 2010, and returns to Toronto to lead Grey Canada’s work on U.S.-based clients as part of the agency’s network’s “borderless” model.
Redmond was most recently creative director for PS&Co in Vancouver (which arose out of Elevator Strategy) and before that held senior creative leadership roles with Red The Agency, Taxi, and BBDO. (Regular readers of The Message will also know him as the author of the popular The Redmond Review columns.)
“Fifteen years ago, Grey brought me out to Vancouver, and now they’re bringing me home,” said Redmond in a release. “I’m thrilled to be reunited with people I have the utmost respect for, and especially excited to be brought on by Mark Mason, whose passion and commitment to making Grey great is palpable. This also means I can attend the Leafs’ Cup parade in person!”
Lupke said the new hires signal a renewed commitment from Grey to enhance its creative output by expanding the department, and elevating the product after a quiet couple of years. “We’re really looking to get back to our roots and make a mark not only through our clients’ businesses, but also in award shows as well,” she said.
Following CEO Helen Pak’s departure in the spring of 2019, the agency announced that its creative leadership would be overseen by global executive CD Emiliano Gonzalez De Pietri, who split his time between New York and Toronto. However, all Canadian creative is now being led entirely out of Toronto, said Lupke.
In late 2020, WPP announced that it was merging AKQA and Grey, causing some uncertainty about the future of Grey. The two agencies are now part of one group, and are working closely in the U.S. and other markets around the world, said Lupke.
“The intention was never to lose the Grey brand,” she said. And because AKQA does not have a presence in Canada, Grey continues to operate on its own with Tank.
Together, the agencies have about 110 people in Canada, 45 of whom are at Grey. Key clients include Volvo, Audible, Pringles, Lindt and Canadian Blood Services, although the agency has also been picking up more assignments from U.S. clients, which include TUMS and Nexium.