Jeff Hilts departs FCB for ‘rewirement’

The agency's outgoing co-CCO is leaving to pursue other creative passions, prompting a minor restructure of its creative team.
Jeff Hilts

After more than 30 years in the industry, 15 of those working at FCB in Toronto, Jeff Hilts is departing the agency to enter what he calls “rewirement.”

“To me, retirement sounded so final, but rewirement is leaving doors open. I don’t like to close any doors for the future,” explains Hilts. “I just want to spend time with family and pursue some of my other passions, one of them being motorcycling when COVID will allow us to actually get out there and travel.”

Hilts has played a key role at the agency as CCO, “laying the bedrock” for its restructuring several years ago and “keeping the lights on when things weren’t going so well,” says Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, who has worked as his co-CCO for the past four years.

“He’s been a huge part of not only the agency’s past, but our present, and helped set us up for the future,” she says. “I think Jeff’s empathy has really driven how we act as an agency, and I don’t see that changing. We’re a family, and we have a great culture of valuing people first.”

Hilts’ departure has led to a slight restructuring of the agency’s creative team, Crimi-Lamanna says. She will remain CCO – having been elevated to a national position last year – while Andrew MacPhee and Jeremiah McNama have been promoted into ECD roles. The agency is also seeking a third ECD in Toronto, while Sylvain Dufresne continues to lead creative in Montreal.

Hilts says his departure is an “opportunity” for the agency and its employees to step up.

“I think you’re always looking for the next-in-line leaders to be able to show them there’s a trajectory and a path forward,” he says.

Hilts credits Robin Heisey, who hired him 15 years ago and helped him develop professionally, for showing him a “pathway forward” and says the agency now has the chance to do the same with the next generation of talent.