FCB has made a series of executive appointments following two years of what the agency network describes as “great momentum,” including being named the North American lead for BMO in 2015 as well as creative accolades and several senior hires.
Current FCB Canada CEO Tim Bowen has been promoted to chairman, replaced by current FCB Toronto CEO Tyler Turnbull. There are no plans in place to replace Turnbull at Toronto, with Turnbull telling Marketing it is “very much business as usual” at the 100-person office.
Bowen and Turnbull arrived at FCB in 2014, joining the agency from Cossette and Proximity Canada respectively. “Our primary focus when we joined was to build the agency we’ve always wanted to work for, with the people and partners we’ve always wanted to work with,” said Turnbull. “Our initial objective was to hire and promote the best talent, and we did that.”
Turnbull said the agency’s output had been “demonstrably better” as a result, citing recent campaigns for the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation and BMO. “It really reflects the type of agency we’ve become,” he said, adding that the new executive appointments allow it to “double down” on its current strategy.
The loss of long-time client TD Bank to Leo Burnett and the subsequent departure of veteran creative head Robin Heisey left FCB Toronto reeling in 2014, though the Interpublic shop quickly regained its equilibrium through a combination of major account wins (BMO), organic growth from existing clients and key new hires throughout the network.
“The agency had gone through some hard years, which resulted in the management changes,” admitted Turnbull. “Our focus at that point, which remains the same today, was on hiring great people and doing great work. I think that’s been the driving force behind the changes you’ve seen, and reflected in the work across all our companies.”
FCB’s global CEO Carter Murray credited Bowen with successfully restructuring, realigning and simplifying FCB’s Canadian offering. In his new role as chairman, Bowen is charged with developing long-term relationships with top clients and advancing the network’s corporate strategy.
Bowen said the agency had also enjoyed “very positive” organic growth, brought about by the cross-pollination of ideas and resources across its various divisions.
“One of the specific goals when Tyler and I started was to simplify and reorganize the companies and their great subject matter expertise,” he said. “What we really focused on with our corporate strategy was that had all of these great individual pieces, but how do we fit the puzzle pieces together so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts?”
Turnbull said the 100-person Toronto office is recognized as one of the top performing in FCB’s global network (approximately 109 offices), both in terms of the quality of its work and awards show recognition.
“It’s a testament to our people and our team,” said Turnbull. “We’ve been able to build a team that takes what made FCB great since its inception and brought in great talent to complement the people who have been with us a long time. It’s been a relentless focus on stripping away everything that gets in the way of what we’re meant to do – which is great creative work that changes behaviour.”
In his new role, Bowen will focus on corporate strategy, new business and leadership for FCB’s array of Canadian assets, which include offices in Toronto and Montreal, as well as its recently revamped FCB/Six, Segal Licensing and Fuel Advertising.
Turnbull will focus on supporting and building existing teams across its network roster. “How do we keep bringing in the best people to solve our clients’ toughest problems? We feel we have a large number of specialist-based agencies that can help clients with their biggest challenges.”
FCB Toronto has also announced a revamp of its creative department, with Nancy Crimi-Lamanna and Jeff Hilts promoted to co-creative officers. They are replacing Jon Flannery, who is returning to FCB Chicago as executive vice-president, executive creative director, where he will work alongside the agency’s new chief creative officer Liz Taylor.
Flannery was billed as a “creative dynamo” upon joining FCB Toronto from its Chicago office in 2014, where he oversaw work including K-Mart’s viral hit “Ship My Pants.” Murray said in a release that Flannery had left an “indelible mark” on FCB Toronto as its creative lead, producing the agency’s best awards results in 10 years.
Under Flannery’s guidance, his successors Crimi-Lamanna and Hilts have worked on some of the agency’s most attention-getting work, including the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation’s “Where Am I?” campaign, the Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses (OAITH) “powerful “The Window Project,” and its Cannes shortlisted “Cracker Cutter” work for Mondelez’s Ritz brand.
Crimi-Lamanna is a 26-year creative veteran who joined FCB as VP, creative director in May 2015. A member of the advisory board for the Toronto chapter of the Miami Ad School, her career accomplishments include winning Canada’s first Integrated Lion in Cannes for the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s “Social Smoking” campaign while with BBDO Toronto. The campaign was also named Warc’s Canadian Campaign of the Year in 2013.
Hilts has been with FCB for nearly 11 years, and boasts a portfolio of award-winning work for clients including PFLAG, Stella Artois, Kokanee Beer, Capital One, Mondelez and MacKenzie Financial.
Turnbull said the promotion of Crimi-Lamanna and Hilts hasn’t created any holes in FCB Toronto’s creative ranks, but said the network continued to make hires in creative, account management and specialist divisions. “It hasn’t created any holes, just more opportunity for people who want to join the team,” he said.