Zulu Alpha Kilo hires Wain Choi as new ECD

A three-year search ends with someone that brings valuable knowledge of both Canadian and global markets.

Zulu Alpha Kilo has added some global expertise to its creative leadership, hiring Wain Choi as executive creative director.

According to Zak Mroueh – the agency’s founder and CCO – it was quite an extensive process, spanning three years and more than 30 interviews with candidates.

We wanted the person to be a Canadian who knows this market but also had global experience and a pedigree of brilliant work under their belt. It was not an easy brief,” Mroueh tells strategy. Most recently, Choi held the title of chief creative officer at CJ Live City in Seoul, South Korea, and has also been chief creative officer at Cheil Worldwide, among many other creative roles across markets over 16 years.

But prior to that, Choi worked in Canada at agencies such as Cossette, Y&R and Ammirati & Puris. Mroueh – who has known Choi for more than 20 years – heard he was coming back to Canada by chance last September, prompting them to connect.

“Although there’s a lot of amazing talent here in Canada, what I really loved about Wain is his global experience and creative pedigree,” Mroueh says. “I had moved to the UK many years before, so I identified with his restlessness and desire to work in other markets and gain global experience.  Zulu has major global aspirations and he’ll be a great creative partner for me and a well-respected leader within the agency.”

Zulu has been operating with a roster of creative directors reporting in to Mroueh over the past three years, after former ECD Allen Oke left the agency to lead creative at Huge. This has put a lot of the burden on Mroueh’s shoulders, he notes, and hiring an ECD was always the plan, but was nonetheless holding out for the right fit.

“During our search, I took on the ECD role, and I also leaned in heavily on my group creative directors and CDs who did an amazing job in helping manage the workload and growth we’ve had over the past three years,” Mroueh says. “Although we’ve had some of our best creative years recently, it will only get better with Wain joining us. I’m looking forward to being able to roam throughout the agency, less rushed and having a creative partner share the creative workload with me.”

Some of Choi’s award-winning work has included Samsung’s “Look At Me” app and Uniqlo’s “Heat Tech Window.”