CMA names Alison Simpson as new president and chief executive

The Canadian Marketing Association has tapped Alison Simpson, one of Canada’s most accomplished and well-known marketers, as its new president and CEO. She replaces John Wiltshire, who stepped away from the CMA in the spring.

Simpson is a highly experienced industry executive who has spent time in senior leadership positions both client side and in agencies, and was most recently CMO at the real estate technology platform Key.

“Alison is an accomplished executive leader, and an award-winning marketer with extensive brand and agency experience,” said Kerri Dawson, chair of the CMA’s board of directors, in a release. “We are delighted that she has agreed to take the helm at the CMA, to ensure the association continues on its strong trajectory of success.”

The CMA said it its comprehensive search attracted dozens of candidates from across Canada.

“The marketing industry is incredibly dynamic and experiencing unparalleled change,” said Simpson in the release. “I am thrilled that the directors have placed their confidence in me to lead the CMA’s talented team at this pivotal time. I look forward to seizing every opportunity to help marketers develop professionally, contribute to marketing thought leadership, build strong networks, and strengthen the regulatory climate for business success.”

Simpson has led brand, digital, loyalty, integrated marketing and customer experience teams for top tier brands including Holt Renfrew, Rogers Communications, and TMX Group; she was executive VP at Bond Brand Loyalty (formerly Maritz) for four years, and held management positions at the agencies GWP, Venture Communications, and JWT going back to the late ’90s and early 2000s.

She is also a director of the CNIB Foundation, and sits on the advisory board for the Master of Management Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Program at the Smith School of Business. She has also ran dozens of marathons, including completing a 250km run through the Sahara desert as part of a team to raise money for nabs.

In a LinkedIn post, Simpson said she has benefited from being a CMA member throughout her career. “The strong foundation—and important role the Association plays for the marketing profession— make this a truly exceptional opportunity,” she said.

“The calibre of the Board and Association team, combined with the opportunity to help the CMA grow and fully reflect the dynamic profession we represent, are a few of the compelling reasons that I’m delighted to join.”

Simpson officially starts her new role Nov. 28, but will be at the CMA Awards in Toronto on Nov. 18.

David Brown