Forsman & Bodenfors promotes Bissuel and D’Souza as part of its “radical” changes

Forsman & Bodenfors has shaken up its senior Canadian leadership team as part of its worldwide efforts to develop a “flat operating structure.”

In the last few months, former CEO for Canada Melanie Johnston, Montreal managing director Karine Huard, and chief creative officer Matt Hassell have all left the agency. The Message confirmed that Johnston is joining Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation as chief marketing officer, while Huard has been working at Cossette since June, and Hassell recently started his own agency.

On Monday, Julien Bissuel (top left) was announced as managing director for Canada, while Glen D’Souza (top right) has been promoted to head of creative at the 72-person agency, which is part of Stagwell Group.

“Julien’s extensive agency and client background makes him the ideal leader for our business in Canada,” said Toby Southgate, who was hired as Forsman & Bodenfors global CEO in May 2021. “He has had an enormous impact since he arrived more than three years ago, and we’re thrilled that he’s leading the way as we move our agency forward”

Bissuel has been with the agency for three years, most recently as vice-president, client service. D’Souza has been F&B’s executive creative director for five years. Along with Bissuel and D’Souza, F&B also announced that Tyler Kawa (right, top) has been promoted from group account director to head of business partnerships, while Andrew Carty (right, bottom) rounds out the senior leadership team as head of strategy.

Key Canadian accounts for Forsman & Bodenfors include Church & Dwight, LG Canada, Polestar, Seneca College, and Ontario Power Generation.

“Over the course of the last [one-and-a-half] years, F&B has been simplifying the leadership structure around the collective to align with a more flat and collaborative working style and approach,” said Bissuel. “As part of this exercise, the agency has made the decision to move away from the role of CEO at the regional office level.”

Forsman & Bodenfors has dubbed the approach “radical collaboration.”

“Radical Collaboration defines how we work internally—with no hierarchy and empowered teams and communities—where everyone can contribute to the idea at any stage of the process,” said Southgate in a release announcing the promotions. “Our ambition is to do work that shifts culture and builds fame,” he said. “We’re responsible for ideas that help our clients solve problems. Some of our best and most effective work globally is outside traditional advertising.”

Gender equality has been a priority at Forsman & Bodenfors, which became the first agency network in the world to receive global certification by the 3% Movement, which launched to advocate for greater gender equality in the advertising industry, which has always seen men fill most of its leadership positions.

While no women were promoted to replace the two women leaving the leadership team in Canada, F&B’s head of HR and production are women, said  Bissuel. “And the agency has just promoted two new CDs and one ACD, who are all women.”

Globally, F&B says that 61% of its staff identify as women, as does 57% of its global executive leadership. The agency also announced on Monday that it has been certified by Fair Pay Workplace for its ongoing commitment to equal pay for equal work.

David Brown