Denise Rossetto and Todd Mackie to leave BBDO

The creative team is leaving for a new venture, with CDs Derek Blais and Chris Booth leading the department in the interim.

Todd Mackie (left) and Denise Rossetto (centre) with BBDO president and CEO Dom Caruso.

BBDO Canada will be on the hunt for new creative leadership following the departure of chief creative officers Denise Rossetto and Todd Mackie.

Announced to agency staff this morning, Rossetto and Mackie are leaving BBDO at the end of the month to join an undisclosed new venture. Derek Blais and Chris Booth – who joined BBDO in 2012 and 2013, respectively, and were promoted to SVP and CD roles in December – will lead the creative department in the interim.

Rossetto and Mackie joined BBDO in 2015, the first major hires made by then-new president and CEO Dom Caruso, who had rejoined the agency a few months prior. Caruso says finding new creative leadership was one of his key priorities when he joined, having just seen the departure of former creative leaders Peter Ignazi and Carlos Moreno for Cossette, and describes working with the creative team as “one of the great partnerships of [his] career.”

“At that time, we sought the best leadership for our creative product that would leverage the quality of our talent and bring something new,” Caruso says. “Now, five years later the same is still true… and again, we’re going to identify leadership that will help write the next chapter at BBDO. And we have two great leaders [Blais and Booth] that are exceptionally qualified to lead the department as we identify that long-term solution.”

Caruso also cites Rossetto and Mackie’s work, along with that of Booth and Blais, for helping the agency get a Silver Agency of the Year win. Booth and Blais were promoted to manage creative work across the agency’s accounts, which they will continue to do in addition to providing leadership for the department.

“Derek and Chris were key contributors to the Agency of the Year win and to the creative culture of BBDO,” Caruso says. “We’re in exceptionally good hands with them at the helm. With Derek and Chris running the day-to-day work of the agency, we can take our time to identity the very best solution for the future.”

When asked what that solution might look like, and if the leadership structure at the agency might change, Caruso told strategy that BBDO has “always looked at creative leadership to be true to our DNA” and held “a core belief in the power of creativity.” That means taking advantage of the current creative culture, which could including taking a new perspective and new approach to the work.

Rossetto and Mackie were both fifth in the creative director rankings on this year’s Creative Report Card, with BBDO as an agency ranking third, helped by their work on the “We Rise” campaign for Right to Play, this year’s top brand. Over the past five years, the pair has also helped deliver award-winning work for the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Mars Wrigley, RBC and PepsiCo, among other clients.

Not even three months into 2020, there have already been numerous shake-ups among the creative leadership at Canada’s ad agencies, from indies to network agencies, both national and regional. Carlos Moreno left Cossette last month for a yet-to-be-disclosed opportunity, while Jordan Doucette returned to Canada as a partner at No Fixed Address. New creative leaders have also joined the ranks at Zulu Alpha Kilo, Trampoline, McCann Health and Oliver.