Dentsu names president in Quebec to return to its roots

Genevieve Guay will help the company's full roster of agency brands drive innovation and investment in the province.

Genevieve GuayDentsu has named Geneviève Guay president of its Quebec operations as the company looks to get back to its roots in the province and drive innovation.

Guay has served as Canadian president of media agency Dentsu X for almost two years and will continue in that role. But her new mandate as president of Dentsu in Quebec will be to lead the company’s offerings in the province, alongside the leadership teams of individual network agencies Dentsumcgarrybowen, Carat, iProspect, Isobar, Merkle and Dentsu X. One of her first goals is to develop a technology-first approach to bolster the agency’s reputation in the province.

Jeff Greenspoon, CEO of Dentsu Canada, says the agency’s roots are in Quebec. Much of its growth started by investing in the province, such as its acquisitions of Bos – an independent Montreal agency that was merged with Dentsu in 2012 and then merged with Mcgarrybowen earlier this year. Likewise, when Carat was founded more than 50 years ago, it was launched with the acquisition of a Quebec media agency.

When Greenspoon became CEO in February, he says the agency had “lost focus” in the Quebec marketplace as its grew its national business. The agency needed to show “that we have the right leadership, the right talent, the right scale in the Quebec market to truly be a partner to both national brands and local Quebec brands that want to succeed and really drive innovation in that market,” he says.

He says Guay is “a great leader” for the Quebec team because she was born and raised in the market, she’s worked with many of Dentsu’s agencies and understands the creative, business, technological and programmatic components. Greenspoon says it’s too early to say how much new talent Dentsu will bring aboard its Quebec operations, but it has formed a cross-agency leadership team with Guay to better identify what talent it will bring on – likely in technology and digital.

In terms of its innovation goals, Dentsu Quebec has also announced a new partnership with Zu, a creative hub for start-ups, which the company hopes will create a connection between itself, its clients and innovative new companies in the province.

Greenspoon says the Quebec marketplace is “a hotbed for technology talent,” and Dentsu Quebec will look to develop expertise in AI, machine learning, AR and VR in order to service national clients and incorporate them into creative and media work. Greenspoon adds that two of Dentsu’s digital agencies in particular — Merkle and Isobar — will begin to play a bigger role nationally. This is important, he notes, as Dentsu wants to ensure it’s “future-focused” and a “right fit for what the CMOs of tomorrow need.”

Outside of technology, Dentsu aims to help clients address the “unmet needs” of the customer, which includes the total purchase journey that is being handled by a new commerce division.

With the release of its Q3 results this month, Dentsu said it has begun a global “comprehensive review and accelerated transformation program involving every region,” which CEO Toshihiro Yamamoto said could be “radical” and include the merging or elimination of agency brands.

With files from Jeromey Lloyd