Roy takes over Publicis’s Quebec operations

While they had spent years orbiting each other in same professional circles, Publicis Canada CEO Duncan Bruce and longtime LG2 partner and president Mathieu Roy had never met in person until a few months ago, when Bruce was looking for someone to lead the agency’s Quebec operations.

“At first I called him Bruce,” joked Roy, before clarifying that, of course, he knew both Duncan and his brother Andrew (current Publicis Groupe Canada CEO) by reputation.

On Wednesday, Roy was introduced as executive vice-president of Publicis in Quebec—a newly created role that sees him assume leadership of Publicis Montréal, as well as the Canadian operations of design and technology agency Nurun Canada. Roy also becomes a member of Publicis Groupe Canada’s executive committee.

A Publicis spokesperson said former Nurun Canada president Christian Ayotte and Publicis Montréal president Rachelle Claveau both left the company this week, and Roy said one of his immediate priorities is finding new leadership for the two agencies.

Bruce identified Roy as a potential candidate fairly early in a hiring process that got underway at the start of the year, but he wasn’t available at the time. “I kept looking and waiting, interviewing at the same time, and then there was an opportunity to have a conversation with him,” he said. “We hit it off from the moment we sat down together.”

Publicis Canada chair Yves Gougoux said that Roy’s appointment marks an “important milestone” for the company’s Quebec operations. “Having witnessed the already strong connection and shared vision between Mathieu and Duncan, I have no doubt that it will result in great accomplishments for Publicis and Nurun in Québec and nationally,” he said.

Roy spent nearly 12 years with LG2, rising to partner and chief client officer as it emerged as one of the country’s leading independent agencies. After departing LG2 in August 2019, he resurfaced with Cossette Montreal the next year, spending two years with the agency as its senior vice-president, business strategy.

Bruce called Roy a “talented and unifying leader,” whose hire is part of a broader strategy to integrate the Publicis and Nurun offerings, while also tapping into the broader Publicis network, including the digital transformation network Razorfish, CRM and direct marketing specialists Hawkeye and data specialist Epsilon.

“There can be more sharing of thought, more work and creation for the brands we’re privileged to work with,” he said. “My belief is that one lead is important.” The two agencies employ a combined 200 people.

Roy said he was seeking a “transformational project” at this stage of his career. “I wasn’t looking for a job, I was looking for a project,” he said, calling Publicis and Nurun “amazing brands” with well-established credentials. “I want to build on the tremendous legacy that these two brands represent in the market, and I want to spark some growth,” he said. “I see tremendous opportunity.”

Roy was also attracted by Publicis’ entrepreneurial culture, which is reminiscent of LG2. “I come from an indie background… but I felt this culture is so entrenched in its DNA and we had perfect alignment on values, which are important to me.”

Chris Powell