Grey Canada restructures leadership team

The agency's global ECD takes the creative reins to move to a more "borderless" model as Helen Pak and Joel Arbez depart.
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Top row, from left to right: Karen Lee, Nicole Lupke and Emiliano Gonzalez De Pietri.
Bottom row, from left to right: James Ansley and Ian Westworth.

Grey Canada has restructured its leadership team as part of an initiative to work in a more “borderless” approach and bring more global opportunities to the Canadian office.

Going forward, Grey’s global ECD Emiliano Gonzalez De Pietri will be taking on the additional role of CCO of Grey Canada, while continuing to be based in New York and reporting to global CCO John Patroulis.

President and CCO Helen Pak, who joined Grey Canada in 2017, and executive creative director Joel Arbez, who joined in 2016, will be departing the agency. Pak worked with Marc Lanouette, CEO of Grey Canada and Tank, on the details of the restructuring and will remain with the agency for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition. Pak told strategy that, following the transition, she will be taking “a little break” before deciding on her next steps and is eager to pursue new challenges.

On the agency side, Grey is taking the leadership restructuring as an opportunity to move towards a more “borderless” network model. Owen Dougherty, chief communications officer for Grey Group, told strategy in an email that Grey Canada is known for its “great work” locally, and the agency envisions it having more of an impact on the global level and taking on more opportunities from across the network with De Pietri in the creative leadership role.

“There is tremendous bench strength in this country, and this is going to create a lot more opportunities for us,” adds Lanouette. “From a business perspective, the ambition is to become a global hub, so a lot more work will be coming, work that will be deployed elsewhere but being done in Canada. [Grey Group CEO] Michael Houston has a vision of making this happen, and Canada is the first office to embark on that in a major way. Having Emiliano lead the creative group is going to make that much more fluent.”

De Pietri has been with the Grey network since 2013, leading creative for offices in Latin America before taking on the global ECD role in 2017. Since then, he has been overseeing global work on the agency’s GSK account, as well as leading multi-agency pitches for holding company WPP in multiple regions.

Locally, ECD James Ansley and director of client services Nicole Lupke have been promoted to co-managing directors of Grey Canada. Both will report to Lanouette, while Ansley will also work closely with De Pietri on Grey Canada’s creative product.

Ansley was first hired as creative director at Grey in 2011, while Lupke joined in 2016.

Additionally, Karen Lee, who joined as VP of content and CRM in 2015, has been promoted to SVP of client services and growth. Ian Westworth, who joined as VP of planning and innovation in 2016, has been named SVP and head of planning and effectiveness.

Grey and Tank both still have Canadian offices in Toronto and Montreal. WPP closed Grey’s Vancouver office at the end of 2018, with some of the office’s remaining client work going to Grey offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Tank, on the other hand, has been on a growth spurt since being acquired by Grey Group in 2016, recently hiring a new exec to handle integration of services and collaboration between its expanding number of global offices.