McCann Montreal adds new VP

Thierry Gauthier is the agency's first major hire since rebranding from Marketel and bringing in a new president.
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McCann Montreal has hired Thierry Gauthier as VP of client services, the first of several hires planned to grow the agency’s capabilities in the Quebec market and help it better use the resources of the broader network.

Gauthier’s role will resemble a traditional senior client services leader to start, but Mylène Savoie, president of McCann Montreal, says that’s because that’s what’s required at the agency right now, and the role will evolve over time. She says his experience across a range of disciplines will be particularly helpful as the agency looks to expand the capabilities of the digital MRM and experiential Momentum practices within the Montreal office.

“Someone like Thierry has experience from so many different agencies and disciplines,” Savoie says. “Knowing that our clients want us to be leaner and more efficient, I think having somebody of this profile and stature within the Montreal industry was really necessary for us to have at this point.”

Gauthier was most recently chief brand activation officer at Montreal digital agency Human Equation, and has also held senior positions at Publicis Montreal, Speed and Imago. Gauthier was also a partner and VP of development and strategy at Nextmoov when it merged with Sky Communications and Arthur & Merlin to create Tank in 2007.

Nadia D’Alessandro, McCann Montreal’s VP of strategic planning and client services, remains with the agency, focusing more on the L’Oréal and Nespresso accounts in her client services role.

This is also the agency’s first senior hire since it was rebranded from Marketel McCann in December and brought on Savoie as its new president. Savoie says there are a series of further hires she has planned for the near future, including a director of digital based in Montreal. One of her goals since joining the agency has been to not only develop internal capabilities, but make better use of the resources available to it as part of the broader McCann network.

“Marketel has an amazing legacy but the reality is it needed some fresh blood and thinking,” Savoie says. “We’re trying to educate the team internally and build relationships with the rest of the network and leverage other resources from other offices within Canada and globally. We want to be more efficient and leverage the resources we have through the network and what makes sense to duplicate within our office. And packaging all of that in a way so we can explain to our clients that even though some of these functions are not going to be done in-house, there is still great value to them.”

In addition to building its own capabilities, Savoie says a priority is to drive growth by working with more local clients and to raise McCann’s profile in the Quebec ad industry.

“Our name changed but our roots are Marketel, and we’ve been one of the top agencies in Montreal over the last 30 years,” Savoie says. “When I was on the team that opened John St. Montreal, it was at the same time DDB, Union and Rethink all came here, and there was a bit of backlash here because people felt like they were being taken over by Toronto. This is not that, and it’s important for the industry here to realize being part of a network is just a different model. We are going to leverage resources from the rest of the McCann network, but we are still the people who made up Marketel and are staffed by people born and raised in Quebec and working with local clients.”