Elting looks back at 20 years with Grey Advertising

Ev Elting retires from Grey Canada on March 31 after spending 16 of his 20 years with the agency as president and ceo.Elting is only the second president in Grey's 35-year history, succeeding Peter Grolick who headed the agency from 1959...

Ev Elting retires from Grey Canada on March 31 after spending 16 of his 20 years with the agency as president and ceo.

Elting is only the second president in Grey’s 35-year history, succeeding Peter Grolick who headed the agency from 1959 through 1979.

On April 1, Andy Krupski, currently vice-chairman of Prism Communications, becomes the third to hold the post.

Krupski joined Prism a year ago after 12 years with J. Walter Thompson, the last four as president and ceo.

Elting will remain on the Grey Canada board of directors, but he says the amount of his involvement with the agency will be determined by Krupski.

Elting says while he had originally planned to retire in 1996, a search for his successor that started last fall turned up the right replacement earlier than expected.

Reflecting on his 20 years with Grey, Elting says he has seen a lot of dramatic changes in Canadian advertising.

‘When I started at Grey in Canada, most of the 10 largest agencies were Canadian, and the rest of us were considered a bit suspect, perhaps outsiders. The biggest clients, other than government, were the beer companies, and most television commercials were location shoots. And, I don’t mean North York or the Muskokas.

‘Multinational clients tried very hard to wear a Canadian cloak, and, until I became a Canadian citizen after I was in Canada for three years, I humbly apologized for my u.s. origins and aggressiveness.

‘The word agency meant advertising agency. It didn’t mean direct marketing, public relations or – heaven forbid – sales promotion.’

Elting begins retirement by getting married April 1 to Joanne Strayer. For the next year, he says he plans to enjoy life and spend more time at his home in Vermont.

He says he is not in the job market and won’t be for the foreseeable future.

Elting spent two years in his first job as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force before moving in product management and marketing positions on the client side in 1962 with stints at Chesebrough-Ponds, Norton Simon, and Schick Electric in New York.

He moved to Lisbon, Portugal in 1973 as president of Sara Sociedade.

In 1975 he joined Grey Advertising in New York as vice-president, management supervisor and moved to the Toronto office in 1976 as senior vice-president, director of client service.

Grey Canada has offices in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and operates Grey Advertising, Grey Retail, GMS Media, Grey Direct, Grey Healthcare, Kelley Advertising and Lawrence Marshall Productions.