Cundari names new Montreal leadership

Nicolas Lefebvre will lead the office as the agency's plans for expansion continue to develop.
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Cundari has hired Nicolas Lefebvre as its new VP of client services in Montreal, where he will lead day-to-day operations at the office.

Most recently, Lefebvre was a senior advisor at Montreal-based digital agency CloudRaker. He was also VP of digital and CRM at Palm + Havas and has had stints at Deutsch and Leo Burnett Montreal, as well as client side at Fido.

Lefebvre – who started with the agency last week – takes over leadership of the Montreal office from Jean-Francois Mallette, who had been VP and managing director since early 2014 before departing the agency at the beginning of the year. One of Lefebvre’s first tasks will be leading the search for someone to lead the creative teams in Montreal following the departure of creative director Sébastien Tessier, who left in the summer for a role at Christie Digital Systems.

“Our main goal is growth, like everybody else,” Aldo Cundari, founder, chairman and CEO of Cundari, says about the agency’s plans for the Montreal market. “But the intent is also for us to have centres of excellence. He’s still fleshing that all out, but Nicholas brings a huge expertise in CRM with him, so they may be our Canadian centre of excellence in that space.”

In late 2015, Jennifer Steinmann was named president of the agency to run day-to-day operations while its founder turned his focus to expansion and growth across North America, particularly in the U.S.

Cundari says the state of uncertainty in the industry on both sides of the border has meant being cautious with its growth plans, but expects to be making a move some time over the course of the next year.

“The industry has shrank a great deal and last year was rough for a lot of agencies,” he says. “But we actually grew last year and surpassed our forecasts, so the next three to five years look really optimistic. We’ve retooled the Toronto office and have a great management team running things here. Now my job is looking at expansion in the U.S. market.”

Last summer, Cundari added a number of new hires – including a new creative director – in Toronto. It also picked up three new digital assignments, which also facilitated the promotion of two staff members to digital-focused VP positions.