Who Does What Now—September 16

New hires/promotions — Cossette

Cossette has announced a series of senior creative hires on the McDonald’s Canada business. They include award-winning creative Jason Hill (pictured), who joins the agency as executive creative director.

Hill has more than 25 years of experience, and has spent the past few years freelancing with agencies including John St., Zulu Alpha Kilo and Edelman, working on brands including IKEA, Adidas, Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism, Virgin, Molson, Nissan/Infiniti, and Axe.

“Working on one of the world’s largest brands, at an agency that has such a strong culture of creativity and collaboration, is an amazing opportunity that doesn’t come around very often,” said Hill. “I can’t wait to continue to dive into the McDonald’s brand and lead the team to build on the great work that Cossette has produced over the years.”

Hill will oversee the creative team on the McDonald’s Canada account, working alongside Anthony Atkinson, who was promoted to ECD in March and oversees creative output for all other Cossette clients. Among Hill’s first moves were hiring a new senior-level creative trio to work with him on the McDonald’s Canada account, including Leilah Ambrose as group creative director, who will join the agency on Oct. 19; along with creative directors Lorne Heller and Justin Luu, who join the agency on Oct. 3.

New hires—GroupM

Gautham Pingali has joined GroupM’s Canadian leadership team as executive vice-president of performance and innovation, responsible for leading the company’s recently unveiled performance media organization, GroupM Nexus, alongside president Michael Neale.

Pingali was most recently head of performance at Mindshare, overseeing strategy, marketing science, digital, data and analytics. Before that, he was managing partner for GroupM in sub-Saharan Africa, responsible for the growth of the media business and key multi-market clients in the region.

“Elevating Gautham into this group-wide position is a testament to outstanding performance in his role at Mindshare transforming the way the agency approaches delivery and performance,” said GroupM Canada CEO Kevin Johnson. “With that capacity and capability, and aligned with our global transformation toward Nexus, we wanted to give him greater impact on our overall business and our clients.”

New hires—Leo Burnett

Leo Burnett Canada has bolstered its strategy team with three key appointments: Pooja Beri and Zaid Khan as strategy directors, and Aleeza Yermus as senior strategist. All three report into chief strategy officer Tahir Ahmad.

Khan returns to Leo Burnett after completing a Masters of Design in OCAD U’s Strategic Foresight & Innovation program. Beri brings more than five years of experience, most recently with Leo Burnett Dubai, where he worked on accounts including Mercedes-Benz, GMC, du, Omantel, Emirates NBD, Ferrero, Emirates Airlines, Saudia, Samsung, Meraas, and McDonald’s.

Yermus is a creative strategist with a background in social strategy, content management, and brand building. She has spent over five years honing her craft in digital and social strategy, as well as brand and communications planning.\

New hires—YMCA

Stacey Masson has joined the YMCA’s leadership team as vice-president of marketing and communications in Quebec.

Masson, who was most recently VP of marketing and communications for Cossette, will create communication strategies to strengthen the brand’s image, increase awareness of its impact and its service offering, and oversee its digital transformation.

“The Y is at a pivotal moment in its history. We’re reinventing ourselves to ensure the sustainability of our essential mission, which is to encourage all people to reach their full potential, thrive and contribute to their community,” said Stéphane Vaillancourt, president and CEO of the YMCAs of Québec. “Stacey not only shares our values, she also has a very human-centred leadership style and recognized strategic expertise that will contribute to the lasting change we are implementing.”


Chris Powell