Pizza Pizza hires new VP of marketing

Alyssa Huggins takes on national marketing duties for the QSR chain following the departure of Pat Finelli.


Pizza Pizza has looked to the agency world for its new lead marketer, hiring Cossette veteran Alyssa Huggins as its new VP of marketing.

She will assume overall national marketing responsibilities for Pizza Pizza and Pizza 73, its sister chain in Western Canada. Altogether, the assignment covers over 750 locations across Canada.

Huggins takes over duties previously held by Pat Finelli. Finelli first joined the company in 1984, becoming its VP of marketing in the ’90s and later becoming the pizza chain’s CMO. Finelli, who left the company near the beginning of 2018, was also one of the public faces of the company, frequently appearing as its spokesperson in the media and serving as a fixture in its radio advertising.

Huggins is going client-side after a long career at Cossette, first joining as an account director in 2007. After leaving for a two-year stint as VP of retail at BIMM, she rejoined Cossette in 2014 and launched its Chicago office after winning the McDonald’s Operators of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana account. After McDonald’s consolidated its agencies in the U.S. and the Chicago office closed this fall, Huggins came back to Toronto to become chief of staff for the broader Vision7 organization.

Besides McDonald’s, Huggins has also worked with clients including Loblaw, Sears, Future Shop, P&G and Coca-Cola over the course of her career.

Paul Goddard, Pizza Pizza’s CEO, said in a release that Huggins’ experience in both QSR and in other sectors showed appreciation for the value of brands, which would help Pizza Pizza maintain its position “as a progressive, innovative and experience-driven QSR brand.”