Rémillard-Larose joins DDB Canada as CEO

Longtime Sid Lee Toronto managing parter Eve Rémillard-Larose has joined DDB Canada as CEO, with a stated objective to “reignite” a network that has experienced significant turnover among its senior leadership ranks in recent years.

She becomes DDB Canada’s third CEO in two years, succeeding Kevin Brady, who departed in February, and Brent Choi, who left in a 2020 restructuring after becoming the agency’s first CEO/CCO just one year prior.

The DDB name was also formally retired in Vancouver earlier this year, as the former PS DDB rebranded as PS&Co Brand Studio. The DDB name had been in the market since 1998, when the Omnicom network acquired Palmer Jarvis and rechristened it as Palmer Jarvis DDB.

Rémillard-Larose will be tasked with strengthening operating and leading the go-to-market strategy, driving integration across its divisions Anderson Health & Wellness, TrackDDB, and the main DDB Canada agency network, which includes offices in Edmonton, Montreal, and Toronto.

Rémillard-Larose spent more than 16 years with Sid Lee, most recently as co-managing partner of its Toronto office, working with a wide range of organizations from start-ups to global multinationals. She has prioritized the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In a release, DDB North America president and CEO Justin Thomas-Copeland said that its Canadian operations have been waiting for someone like Rémillard-Larose, who combines a “true creative spirit with people-first leadership values.”

“In order to have a strong, connected DDB North America, we need a strong DDB Canada,” he said. “And Eve will play a vital role in making it shine and fostering borderless partnerships with our U.S agencies, to deliver the most powerful creative solutions to clients.”

DDB said that it currently employs approximately 200 people across Canada, with the Toronto combination of Anderson, Track and the main network representing its largest centre of operations. Rémillard-Larose said that Edmonton has also emerged as a strong office within the network, thanks to its capabilities across design, media and digital.

One of her key areas of focus will be on building a more integrated, “borderless” network that can utilize each office’s best capabilities, a philosophy that has been espoused by DDB’s top leadership.

DDB’s global CEO Marty Halloran has talked openly about greater collaboration between offices, pointing to a campaign for Molson Coors’ Coors Light and Coors Seltzer that was developed by its Chicago and Sydney offices as an example of how the approach will work.

Asked about her immediate priorities, Rémillard-Larose said she wants to reignite DDB’s longstanding legacy as a creative powerhouse. “That’s what we’re known for [and] that’s what the legacy is,” she said. “Let’s prove that we are that creative powerhouse.”

“I’m a strong believer that we shouldn’t wait for a brief to start ideating and inventing solutions for clients and non clients, so how can we make sure that we create an environment where we constantly challenge each other,” she added.

In May, DDB announced the appointment of the longtime creative tandem of Rica Eckersley and Adam Thur as executive creative directors, with senior vice-president, managing director Megan Hardisty describing them at the time as a “game-changing duo.”

Asked if she is actively planning to bolster the company’s creative ranks, Rémillard-Larose said it’s too early to make that determination. “I think any agency today is constantly looking for the best talent out there,” she said. “Personally, coming in today as a CEO, I don’t have an agenda of recruiting people because I haven’t had a chance yet to look at the team that’s currently in place.”

Chris Powell