Cossette hires trio of senior staff to strategy team

A new head of strategy and a pair of directors will lead major accounts and free its CSO up for more future-focused work.

FINALCossette’s new hires, from left: Max Keane, head of strategy; Sohail Bhatia, senior strategy director; Geraldine Tixier, senior strategy director.

Cossette has added three senior strategists with international experience to its Toronto team as part of a plan to further integrate strategy into its operations.

To fill its newly created role as head of strategy, the agency has hired Max Keane, who comes to Cossette from Arnold Worldwide in the U.S. In that role, Keane handled clients including Barclays and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has also worked in a variety of strategic roles for Leo Burnett London.

In addition to leading the agency’s McDonald’s and TD work, Keane will handle the day-to-day of Cossette’s strategy department, says Cat Wiles, Cossette’s chief strategy officer.

“This will allow me to be more future-focused, both on the business and shaping the role strategy plays within it,” she says.

The agency has also added a pair of senior strategy directors in Sohail Bhatia and Geraldine Tixier.

Bhatia comes to Cossette from Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in San Francisco, where he led strategic planning on Mitsubishi Motors North America and City of Hope, a top cancer research hospital in the U.S. His prior experience includes various strategy planning roles at DDB and Clemenger BBDO in his native Australia, as well as at Fallon and adam&eveDDB in the U.K.

Bhatia will lead Cossette’s diversity mandate on TD, as well as overseeing its Destination Canada work.

Tixier, meanwhile, is originally from France and has bilingual experience as a strategist at some of the world’s top agencies, including TWBA\Dublin and DDB Paris. In her new role, Geraldine will also be working on the TD account and work with Wiles “to evolve our capabilities to move from insight to foresight,” she says.

The three new hires follow other senior-level strategist appointments Cossette has made in the last year. In June, Cossette hired Max McBeath from VCCP London. In May, it hired Robyn Hutman from Ogilvy Toronto. Both were hired as strategy directors as the company has taken an active role in bolstering its strategy team to respond to “today’s challenging landscape,” says Wiles.

“As the world becomes more complex, our focus is on building a strategy department that asks the right questions and inspires different shaped ideas,” she explains. “As we look forward to what’s next, it’s even more important to include the voices of strategists at the table, and strengthening that voice is something I feel very passionate about.”