Hires that make you go hmmm…



Judith Wheeler is the new woman behind the wheel at DaimlerChrysler Canada as the Windsor-based company’s new VP marketing. She replaces Michael Accavitti who has moved to Michigan HQ to be director, Dodge Motorsports and SRT product planning and marketing. Accavitti had replaced former VP marketing Ron Smith who retired a year ago.

Coming off disappointing second quarter results in December, grocery chain Sobeys has undergone some internal shuffling. Namely, Duncan Reith, chief merchandising officer, becomes GM business development, working in the Ontario region. On the marketing side, Joanne Forgionne, VP marketing, and Peter Floro, VP market research and customer insights, will report to Belinda Youngs, EVP corporate brands. Net earnings were down 2.8% compared to last year.

A new regional passenger carrier has landed. Porter Airlines, which will operate out of Toronto’s City Centre Airport, has announced several new hires, namely, Michael Deluce, EVP corporate strategy and contracts, who has worked at Scotia Capital and Travel Unlimited and Andrew Pierce, director of sales and marketing, who was previously with Bombardier Aerospace. The company says planes will likely be in the air by this fall and that brand building awareness should start three months before that. Robert Deluce is the venture’s president and CEO.


Publicis has gone west. The Toronto-based agency, which also has an office in Montreal, recently opened a Vancouver location and has snatched two Saatchi & Saatchi/Drum partners to do it. George Crookshank is now VP/MD and Bill Downie is VP/CD. ‘Among other opportunities [the agency] will enable us to put our sports marketing division in high gear out west prior to the 2010 Olympics,’ says agency president Serge Rancourt.

After a one-year stint at Cossette, Pascal De Decker has returned to Montreal-based PALM Arnold Communication as VP/CD. His main account will be the agency’s award-winning Volkswagen client.

Peter Heywood has set up Industry Brand Strategy, his own Toronto-based shop in Toronto after about a dozen years as a brand strategist with Spencer Francey Peters and, most recently, Watt International. ‘Watt does very well in the retail sector, but I wanted to expand beyond that, to get into other areas such as IT, and to do in-depth brand strategizing,’ he says. So far, the new agency has signed clients from the packaged goods, building products and information technology sectors.