O&M’s Fraser to head up Taxi

Taxi Advertising of Montreal has reeled in a big fish from Ogilvy & Mather to head its Toronto operation after a search that began when top executive John Lee left in June.Heather Fraser, formerly co-director of the o&m office in Toronto,...

Taxi Advertising of Montreal has reeled in a big fish from Ogilvy & Mather to head its Toronto operation after a search that began when top executive John Lee left in June.

Heather Fraser, formerly co-director of the o&m office in Toronto, becomes managing director of Taxi’s 11-member Toronto office on Oct. 3.

Lee, Taxi’s former office manager and vice-president, left this summer to join bcp.

Fraser is experienced in the client and agency sides of the business.

Worked for P&G

She was with Procter & Gamble for 10 years, in consumer research and marketing management, before starting a five-year career at o&m.

Paul Lavoie, Taxi’s president and creative director, says the search process was all-consuming for much of the summer.

‘We wanted to take the time to get somebody right,’ Lavoie says. ‘We did not pitch any new business – we really wanted to focus on this.’

He says Taxi was looking for somebody who could fill its two main criteria: a passion for the business, and an ability to look at problems from a different perspective.

‘Heather’s experience in solving multi-dimensional problems is just ace,’ Lavoie says.

Insight

‘She just has that way of thinking,’ he says. ‘I think her insight into consumers is going to play a big role.’

‘Also, we’re looking for permanence and management skills. We’re looking for someone who can take the Toronto office and stabilize it, make it grow.’

Fraser says it was a love for the business and the challenge of growing, along with an expanding agency that attracted her to Taxi.

‘I’m coming to a place that consistently has a strong product, does not compromise, is well-respected in the community and by its clients, and has consistently gotten results with its advertising,’ she says.

‘These are first and foremost the reasons I came.

‘Its very exciting to start with a brand name with so much quality, and build from there.’

Fraser says it is her varied experience that makes her valuable to Taxi.

‘I’ve done a lot of different things over 15 years,’ she says.

‘I understand all the issues, and I know, in the end, you’ve got to deliver the results.

‘I love the whole business side, and I’ve spent quite a bit of my career dedicated to the consumer.

‘I bring a breadth of experience, and a breadth of skills and knowledge.’

No animosity

According to Lavoie, the creative and account people work uncommonly close together at Taxi, avoiding the animosity that sometimes occurs at more rigidly structured agencies.

He believes Fraser should fit in well with that kind of environment.

‘We’re looking for people who are creative, and I’ve found Heather thinks differently,’ Lavoie says.

‘That, for me, is a key, looking at the business from a fresh point of view, and it doesn’t hurt that she was a client for 10 years,’ he says.

Fraser says she was happy at o&m, and is uncomfortable with saying she left there.

‘I prefer to say I came to Taxi,’ she says.

‘I actually loved o&m, and I have a soft spot in my heart for it, but this is an opportunity to be a pioneer, to start something from the ground up.’