Up to the Minute: DDB wins YWCA Montreal

Plus: Groupe Police adds new member, Walmart Canada's president heads to China and more news you may have missed.

Hires, promotions and other news

Walmart Canada president Dirk Van den Berghe has been named president and CEO of the retail giant’s operations in China, as well a regional president of Walmart Asia, which includes operations in Japan. Van den Berghe, who took over Walmart Canada two years ago, is replacing Sean Clarke, who has been tapped to lead Walmart’s Asda banner in the U.K. The change is expected to happen at the end of August.

Deane Code, previously a senior consultant in Environics’ Toronto office, has been named VP at Zak Communications. Code, who will be based in Toronto, will have responsibilities in the PR agency’s Toronto and Montreal offices, working with its major clients and seeking out growth opportunities.

Groupe Police, an “active holding” of Quebec independent agencies, has added game design and gamification-focused agency Alice & Smith to its ranks. Groupe Police, launched in November by leaders from Bleublancrouge, U92 and L’Institut Idée, gives small and independent agencies in Quebec support by offering mentorship, administrative services and other things, while also allowing them to continue to operate independently.

New business

DDB Montreal has been selected as agency of record for YWCA Montreal. The agency’s first work, set to launch in September, will focus on the hypersexualization of high school-aged girls to end their recruitment as sex trade workers. This is the first time YWCA’s Montreal branch has selected an agency partner as it turns its attention to more public-facing campaigns, having previously focused on lobbying the government.

Toronto-based creative agency ChizComm has added Neal Brothers Foods to its client roster, helping the company – best known for natural chips and snack foods – with PR and marketing efforts as it prepares for a U.S. expansion.

Zenergy Communications has been named AOR on a national campaign to launch Dermakalm, a new steroid-free topical treatment for eczema and psoriasis from pharma company Paladin Labs. The Toronto PR agency will handle strategic development and execution of the bilingual, PR-based campaign, expected to come with the product’s launch in September.


Montreal-based District M has announced the opening of a Toronto office. The digital media agency has also hired Emil Torma, previously head of programmatic platform revenue at Shaw Media, to serve as its VP of programmatic solutions and to lead the Toronto outpost.

PHD has won the multi-billion dollar global media account for Volkswagen. In the Canadian market, the business will be handled by PHD’s Touché!

m/SIX, a joint media venture between GroupM and The&Partnership, has entered the Canadian market with an office in Toronto. Kerry Mitchell, who previously worked for GroupM agency Maxus Canada, has been tapped to lead the office as its managing director.

Toronto-based investment company Fairfax Financial has acquired a majority stake in OOH company Rouge Media.