Touché’s Desormiers announces retirement

Alain Desormiers, the founder of Touché, and one of Canada’s most successful and accomplished media leaders, plans to retire by the end of the year.

Desormiers, who has been in the industry for more than 37 years, and holds a dual role of chief operating officer for both Touché and Omnicom Media Group’s operations in Montreal, announced his retirement via LinkedIn on Monday, saying “the time has come for me to bow out and sail onwards…to the next chapter of my life.”

He said that he will be gradually leaving his executive and operation functions by December. Reached by The Message, he declined to say anything beyond what was posted to LinkedIn.

“This extraordinary entrepreneurial adventure will have defined me and allowed me to discover and grow so much, both professionally and humanly,” said Desormiers’ post. “So many magical and memorable moments over the years!

“I salute and thank the countless inspiring people who have marked my path, both on the side of our dream team and on the side of our clients, partners and friends of the industry.”

Desormiers spent a decade working in Quebec media before launching Touché in Montreal in 1995. The agency quickly developed a reputation for media creativity before it was acquired by Omnicom’s PHD Network in 2004, and rechristened Touché PHD.

In 2008, Desormier said that he had rebuffed four previous offers for his agency, but said he was attracted by the fact that PHD was a fast-growing network at the time, and possessed a strong entrepreneurial spirit that aligned with his company.

Today, Touché is one of Canada’s best-known media networks, with more than 350 employees across offices in both Montreal and Toronto, working for 37 clients including Canadian Tire Corporation, Volkswagen, HSBC, and Les Producteurs de lait du Québec.

“My greatest satisfaction is to have contributed to building over the years an incredible leadership team which, under the unifying leadership of Karine Courtemanche [CEO of Touché and PHD], will again and again be able to propel Touché and OMG Montreal to new heights.”

Prior to starting Touché, Desormier worked with Carat and fellow independent agency Media Experts, and also had stints with media vendors including the French-language music channel MusiquePlus and Astral Outdoor.

“Alain is a well-respected voice and accomplished leader in the Canadian media industry,” said Shannon Lewis, president of the Canadian Media Directors’ Council, in a statement. “He is a valued ally of the CMDC and will be very much missed by the media community. We at the CMDC wish him all the best in his new endeavours.”

Chris Powell