Melanie Dunn to lead Cossette Canada

The agency's former head in Quebec has been named president and CEO for all Canadian offices.

Cossette has named its Quebec president Melanie Dunn as the new president and CEO of Cossette Canada.

In a new position at the agency, Dunn is taking on wider responsibilities at the head of all of Cossette’s offices in Canada, which include Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Quebec City, Halifax and Winnipeg. She will report in to Brett Marchand, who will retain his role as president and CEO of Vision7 and Cossette’s broader North American operations.

Late last year, Cossette’s holding company Vision7 was sold by majority owners Mill Road Capital to Chinese communications and marketing group BlueFocus. At the time, Marchand said Vision7 was eyeing more expansion within North America and globally. As Marchand is becoming more focused on North American expansion as it gains traction, Dunn says her role was created to make sure the agency didn’t leave the Canadian market behind and continued to grow here.

Vision7 also owns Vision7 Media and EDC, a network of specialized agencies that includes Dare, Elvis Communications, Citizen Relations and Jungle Media. The group’s offices in the U.K., which include Dare, Elvis, Citizen Relations and branding arm Identica, where not included in the sale and will be spun off and run independently.

Dunn has been with Cossette for 15 years, rising through its ranks since joining in 2000 as group account director. In 2011 she was named executive vice president and general manager of the Montreal office and in 2013 was appointed president of Cossette’s operations in Quebec.

While they will now report to Dunn, leadership in Cossette’s individual offices has not changed. She says one of her priorities is to make sure each office continues to act locally, but also has a clear expertise and role as part of the national team.

“We have strong leaders in every region, and that’s part of why I’m confident coming into this role,” she says. “I want to make sure we align nationally to get the best output we can from having five strong leaders at the table.”

Dunn adds that another one of her priorities is to continue to invest in data and technology offerings as the industry evolves, something she says will be helped by working with BlueFocus, a group born out of data.

Since the BlueFocus sale, Cossette has had an eventful first half of 2015. In April, it launched K72 as part of EDC to give a fully integrated offering to clients in Quebec. Weeks later, it announced the Toronto offices of Dare had been re-launched as Camp Jefferson. Also in April, Citizen Relations announced the opening of offices in Hong Kong with one pending in Beijing to add to international offices in the U.S. and U.K.

On the creative side, Peter Ignazi and Carlos Moreno joined Cossette as co-CCOs in February. Last week, the agency announced it had won the AOR assignment for SickKids. It also boosted its creative ranks in Vancouver at the beginning of the year with a handful of hires and promotions, including Michael Milardo to ECD and Nicholas Strauss as head of strategy, which came following the December departure of CD Nick Richards and strategic planning head Ute Preusse, who have since announced the opening of their own shop.

Dare Vancouver has also expanded by a dozen new staff since the fall.

On the media side, Vision7 Media president David Jowett left at the end of last month to return to his native U.K.