Wilmot steps down

Craig Simpson, former head of McCann-Erickson Advertising in Canada, is coming back to Toronto to run the company again.Simpson's return on Sept. 13 marks the end of a two-year tour for Gunnar Wilmot, who came to Canada in August 1991 from...

Craig Simpson, former head of McCann-Erickson Advertising in Canada, is coming back to Toronto to run the company again.

Simpson’s return on Sept. 13 marks the end of a two-year tour for Gunnar Wilmot, who came to Canada in August 1991 from a high level account position on the Coca-Cola business in New York.

Wilmot has been reassigned to Frankfurt where he will take over as chairman of McCann, Germany.

Simpson was in Toronto for two days last week. Sources say he was, among other things, interviewing candidates for the top account position on the Coke account.

That role has been vacant since early this year when senior Coke account director Sorab Mistry left Toronto to service the Coke account in a new office in Bombay.

Simpson, in fact, made his way up through the McCann ranks servicing the Coke business after joining the agency from Leo Burnett 14 years ago.

When Wilmot took over the Canadian operation, Simpson was moved to McCann in Atlanta where he again serviced Coke.

Wilmot’s two years in Canada have been anything but auspicious.

His first big test at the helm came barely two months into the job when McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, an international McCann client, put its national advertising account up for review.

Wilmot’s problem lay in the fact that McCann was already handling Red Lobster restaurants here.

He chose to gamble, resigned Red Lobster, but ultimately failed to win McDonald’s.

Following were a string of chances at accounts such as Microsoft and Sandoz, and a win with the Toronto Dominion Bank.

But Wilmot’s final months in Canada ended with another major account loss when Goodyear Canada departed, moving its business to a new agency set up by a number of former McCann staffers.