Vision7 restructures

Four operating divisions and new additions to the management team chart the course for international growth.
Cossette office 4

Vision7 has finalized a number of plans it set out following its sale to BlueFocus International last year, restructuring its operations and announcing several new appointments to its management team.

Vision7 had previously operated as three divisions: Cossette, Vision7 Media and EDC, a network of smaller and highly specialized agencies. Now, Vision7 has been organized into four operating divisions: Cossette Communications, Vision7 Media, Citizen Relations and The Camps Collective.

The operations of Cossette, which includes six Canadian offices and one in Chicago, remain largely unchanged. K72, a Quebec integrated agency launched earlier this year, will continue to fall under the jurisdiction of Cossette Canada CEO Melanie Dunn (who took over as CEO in June), but operates independently.

Jungle Media, which was previously part of EDC, has been moved to the Vision7 Media division, joining Cossette Media. Citizen Relations, which had also previously been part of EDC, is now its own unit and includes all of the PR agency’s offices, including those in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec City, Los Angeles, New York, Irvine, London and its newest location in Hong Kong.

The Camps Collective is a new division and will be comprised of Camp Jefferson in Toronto and Camp Pacific in Vancouver, which are recently re-launched versions of Dare’s Canadian offices. The Dare name has been phased out in North America and spun off as a standalone brand in the U.K., where a number of Vision7 assets weren’t included in the sale to BlueFocus. The Dare office in Los Angeles will also be part of the collective, with an announcement about its rebranding coming next week. The Vancouver offices of experiential agency Elvis have already been absorbed by Camp Pacific.

Colin Schleining, previously president of EDC North America, is now CEO of The Camps Collective. As has been previously announced, Joseph Leon has been named president of Vision7 Media. Daryl McCullough will also retain his position as CEO of Citizen Relations and Brett Marchand will remain CEO of Vision7 and Cossette North America.

Other moves within the company include Glen Hunt, chief transformation officer of Cossette, becoming part of the North American team as chief transformation officer of Vision7, taking his previous work and applying it to the entire network. Valerie Swatkow, SVP and national account leader on the McDonald’s business within Canada, has been promoted to EVP of client leadership, focusing on McDonald’s in Canada and the U.S. but also becoming the “go-to” for client relations on Vision7′s executive committee.

Marchand says Vision7′s five “strategic pillars” will be represented on the executive team: creative, products (handled by Hunt), clients (handled by Swatkow), finances (handled by CFO Martin Faucher) and people (Marchand says a “chief talent officer” focused on talent retention will be hired in the near future).

Claude Lessard and Pierre Delagrave, the pair that founded Cossette in 1972, will be moving to non-executive roles with Vision7, with Lessard as chairman of Vision7 and Delagrave as chairman of the Vision7 Innovation Committee. Marchand says there will be announcements coming out of the Innovation Committee in the near future relating to Cossette and innovation in the health sector.

At the time of the BlueFocus sale, Marchand said Cossette was primed for North American expansion with Citizen Relations looking for opportunities globally.

“I said this restructuring had to happen within seven months, and I was getting pretty close to the end of that,” Marchand says. “We’ve aligned some of those growth opportunities with each of the agency groups. Not that they’re mutually exclusive, but each of those leaders has a growth mandate or two and a specific role in our growth strategy. That way, the executive team and I can focus on the international growth opportunities, whether that be acquisitions or opening offices in new geographies or pitching clients outside of Canada.”

On the creative and innovation side, those opportunities are focused on innovative digital communications, with an emphasis on mobile, data and e-commerce.