Geoffrey Roche to step down

Monica Ruffo, current president of Montreal-based Amuse, will take over as CEO of both agencies as of September 1.

Geoffrey Roche is stepping down, leaving the agency that bears his name. He will be succeeded by Monica Ruffo, current president of Montreal-based Amuse, which recently joined the Lowe and Partners North American network, becoming part of Deutsch Inc.

Roche’s departure caps off a colourful 20-year career in Canadian advertising. His tenure has seen him have a widespread affect on the industry, creating his own agency in 1991 (acquired by Lowe in 1996), masterminding numerous marketing efforts for blue chip clients like Audi, Nestle Purina, Miele and Knorr, winning numerous creative awards and mentoring many people who have gone on to have very successful advertising careers.

“I’ve sent off many people to bigger and better things and now I have to listen to that voice inside me too,” says Roche. “It’s been fantastic to do what I’ve done for 20 years and now I want to try something different. It’s as simple as that.”

He will be turning his attention full-time to Poolhouse, a new media company that he co-founded almost four years ago with his son Alexandre. Its roster includes online properties like Dogbook, Catbook, Horsebook, 44 Shoes, a fashion property that launched back in January and a soon-to-be-announced lifestyle brand.

“Developing new properties is really the main thing that I’m looking to do with [Poolhouse], whatever form those properties might take,” says Roche. “Think Condé Nast, only a little more hip.”

Roche will officially transition his responsibilities to Ruffo, who will become CEO overseeing both Lowe Roche and Amuse, on September 1.

“She’s got a vision, she’s got a crazy amount of energy and is very passionate about the business and is smart,” says Roche. “I think she’s absolutely perfect for the job.”

Both agencies will continue to operate autonomously under current management, as well as retain their respective branding.

Despite the fact that Roche is leaving the advertising industry, he feels that he isn’t straying too far away with Poolhouse.

“As far as I’m concerned I’m still in the ad world,” says Roche. “I’ve got to figure out how to communicate about these various properties and, pure and simple, that is what we do on a daily basis. I think the ad world needs to be revolutionary right now and being revolutionary is not necessarily doing it in a traditional manner.”