Max Valiquette joins Diamond as chief strategy officer

The first to hold the position, Valiquette has been tasked with leading and elevating a growing department.

Toronto agency Diamond has hired Max Valiquette to provide leadership to its strategy and planning department as its first chief strategy officer.

At Diamond, Valiquette will be responsible for leading the agency’s 20-person strategy team, as well as continuing to grow the department and elevate its offering beyond experiential, which the agency has been looking to do for the last several years.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a transition to more of a traditional agency,” says Valiquette, whose first day at Diamond was on Monday. “But I will be making sure that we are grow the suite of services we have into properly doing some of the things more traditional agencies happen to do.”

One of the things that makes Diamond an interesting opportunity, Valiquette says, is the fact that it is a “super entrepreneurial” independent agency, but it also has a rapidly expanding headcount of more than 120 staff, with open positions that could take it to 150. Roughly 40 of those staff have joined in the last two years, serving clients that include General Mills, IKEA, Hershey’s, HBC and TD Bank, as well as the recently won OverActive Media Group.

“They’re big enough now to need a CSO,” Valiquette says. “I’m going to be able to do some of the things I love, which is going through everything Diamond has done and merchandise that as part of its brand. What’s been successful, how do we duplicate it, how do we grow the team, how do we mine insights, what’s our approach to technology and data. It’s a lot of elevation and refinement.”

Graham Candy, who was previously head of insights and strategy at Diamond, left earlier this year for a role at DDB Toronto.

On top of the expanding strategy team, Diamond also worked with Accenture last year to launch iD, a team of data and analytics experts from the consultancy that’s embedded within Diamond to create personalized, data-driven marketing for its clients.

Valiquette comes to Diamond from Publicis Canada, which he joined as VP and head of strategic planning in 2015. He has also been managing director of strategy at Bensimon Byrne, as well as co-founder and CEO of Youthography, a research and marketing company focused on youth.