Changes afoot at TBWA

The agency has hired Darrin Patey as its new lead technologist and promoted two others to leadership positions amid a shift in global focus.

TBWA\Canada has three new leaders in its Toronto office as president Jay Bertram refocuses his efforts on strengthening the agency’s Canadian operations.

In Toronto, the agency has hired Darrin Patey (pictured) as its lead creative technologist. Patey joins after eight years at fellow Omnicom agency Proximity, where he first met Mark Pileggi, who at the time was working at BBDO Toronto as VP account director and then hired as TBWA\Toronto’s director of digital and operations in January. Pileggi brought Patey to the attention of Bertram and ECD Allen Oke, and together will be filling the hole left by Troy Forster, who left his post as director of creative technology for marketing startup Horizon Studios in January.

Patey will work across clients, but more importantly, he will focus on new business, says Bertram, adding that Patey will help bring digital solutions to some of the agency’s growing clients. “He is a digital adult. He finds ways to communicate complex issues in a simple way for clients and gives them a great degree of confidence and trust that he’ll be able to do what he says he’ll do.”

While at BBDO Proximity, Patey worked on tech and digital solutions on campaigns for Lay’s, Doritos and Rogers.

The agency also announced a pair of promotions. On the creative side, ACD and art director Susie Lee has been promoted to creative director of design, running the agency’s design work, overseeing its staff of five designers and working closely with CDs Gerald Kugler and Rodger Eyre.

“Susie has proven herself over the last couple of years as one of the best designers in the city,” Bertram says, crediting her for some of the agency’s recent award wins, including a Gold and five Silvers at the Bessies. “It was natural for Allen [Oke] to promote her to head of design.”

Calvin Daniels has also been promoted from group brand director to head of client services. While Daniels will continue to lead TBWA’s Nissan business, his new role will seem him assist Bertram in the day-to-day operations of the agency.

“People who know me know that I’m good at a few things and not so good at a lot of things. Calvin is very good at a lot of things and will be a great complement to me,” Bertram says. “Initially, he is going to help drive all of the account people, but he is part of the leadership team now and helping set the direction for the agency.”

Daniels joined TBWA in 2012, having previously been managing partner at One Group and EVP, managing director at BBDO’s now-defunct Windsor office.

Last week, TBWA\Worldwide announced a number of executive changes as it moved to a global client market structure, moving away from the previous, rigid regional structure and instead having its core markets report directly into global. Bertram had previously been overseeing the operations of the Latin American offices in addition to Canada for the last three years, but these changes allow him to devote his focus entirely to the agency’s Canadian operations in Toronto and Montreal.

“My mandate is to get the Canadian operation up and moving stronger,” Bertram says. “For the last three years, I haven’t been able to give it as much time as I can. It’s very hard to have ten plates spinning at once. If you can focus on one thing, you make more impact, so in that way, it’s beneficial. And I haven’t been this excited about our agency’s potential and what we’re doing since 1991.”

The changes also saw Omnicom-owned agency Juniper Park, which had at one point been reporting to BBDO, be brought under the ownership of TBWA\Worldwide, maintaining its independence, structure and leadership under president Jill Nykoliation but reporting to TBWA\Worldwide president and CEO Troy Ruhanen. Bertram says a big part of that move was Juniper Park using its experience working with Miller Light to assist TBWA\Chiat\Day win that account in the U.S., and it made sense to bring that agency under the TBWA banner, staying separate but providing assistance where it can.