Josh Stein named chief creative officer for LG2 Toronto

LG2 has hired Josh Stein away from McCann to be partner and chief creative officer of its Toronto office.

Stein had been at McCann for more than seven years, the last four of which as chief creative officer. During that time, the agency has enjoyed a creative resurgence, putting out breakthrough, award-winning work for clients including Mastercard, Wendy’s, Chevrolet, and Kids Help Phone.

“Josh is a proven, experienced leader and professional,” said LG2 Toronto president Jeremy Gayton in a release. “His vision and passion for people make him a perfect fit for LG2, and particularly our Toronto office. It was a unanimous decision from all of our partners.”

Stein will join LG2 Dec. 4, becoming part of the agency’s national creative leadership team alongside Marc Fortin in Montreal, and Luc Du Sault in Quebec City. In Toronto, the management group is rounded out by Gayton; Keith Barry, vice-president of strategy; Ryan Crouchman, VP and executive creative director of design; and Shelly-Ann Scott, VP, client services.

“I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to be joining a hugely successful indie like LG2,” said Stein. “When you look at the market today, the best work is coming from independent agencies. To become a partner at a company that has consistently fostered creativity and expertise across the country is an incredible gift.”

Stein fills a role left vacant since Nellie Kim and Chris Hirsch parted ways with the agency a year ago. (Kim and Hirsch opened their own agency, The Creative Dept., in San Francisco earlier this year.) Growing the Toronto office has been a stated goal for the agency, but the current headcount of 50 is down from 70 a year ago.

“[Stein] is an incredible creative professional and will bring a strong perspective to Toronto,” said Claude Auchu, partner, president and CEO. “It’s a market where we see a huge potential for growth. We are immensely proud of the work that’s come from the team there, and with Josh’s leadership, we know they will achieve even greater things.”

There has been some industry speculation about changes in the agency’s relationship with Bell, but LG2 confirmed it is still working with the telco. “We have a solid relationship with Bell and work on many mandates for them throughout the year,” said Catherine Vendryes, a communications advisor with the agency.

“Layoffs were a product of the economic context in general, not specific to any client,” she said.

Meanwhile McCann president Ryan Timms confirmed that the agency is seeking a new CCO to replace Stein.

“Josh has been a significant contributor to our agency’s success, helping to elevate our product, grow our people and shape our culture,” he said in an email. “We’re fortunate to have a strong bench of creative leaders both here in Canada and within our broader network to cover the interim… It’s an important opportunity for us, and we’re really excited to bring in the calibre of talent that matches our creative ambition.”

David Brown