Lafond, who until recently was president of Proximity Canada, has been appointed president of Cossette’s English operations, while Hunt joins the Vision7-owned operation as “chief transformational officer.”
“Being able to announce two new leaders of such high calibre and industry prominence at the same time is transformative,” said Cossette CEO Brett Marchand, in a release.
“These strategic changes are a very clear statement that we intend to make Cossette the undisputed leader in the Canadian market, and we intend to achieve this through the best in creative, executive and digital leadership,” he said.
Lafond spent the last two years with Proximity Canada. Prior to that he spent 11 years at Publicis and eventually Publicis Modem where he moved up the ranks from account executive to vice-president, brand director and eventually vice-president and managing partner, a role he held for four years.
“I spent the first half of my career in traditional mass advertising and then went deep into digital launching Modem and Proximity and spent the last seven or eight years harnessing my digital acumen and with what Cossette did two years ago – breaking down the silos and the barriers and collapsing a lot of their business into on integrated offering under Cossette – I thought that was a smart move [and] that they were setting themselves up for the long term,” Lafond told Marketing of his decision to join Cossette.
Hunt’s last full-time agency gig was with Dentsu Canada, where he spent five and a half years. He left in 2010 for what he called a “career hiatus.” Hunt used the opportunity to “rejuvenate, reenergize, but also to reeducate myself on where the industry is moving.” During his time off, Hunt said he read around 140 business and marketing books and his position at Cossette will allow him to use his new-found knowledge.
Marchand told Marketing that he and Hunt will work closely as part of an executive team that focuses on the direction and future of Vision 7 agencies. “That can be everything from: What does the future of creative look like? How do we use innovation and what role does it play?”
Hunt will also work with all five of Cossette’s offices, to oversee current and potential clients on national pitches and campaigns, said Marchand.
Since last working at an agency, Hunt said he has seen a “fundamental difference” in client needs “certainly with innovation and a way of integrating it into customers lives and connecting with them in more powerful ways and literally creating useful innovation so they don’t have to bend to it but we bend to them.”
“And also this idea of integration. certainly the agency not just being a communications partner or an advertising agency but really being a marketing partner,” he added. “Our clients are facing more complexities than ever before, there’s a crisis of complexity and we have to find very simple ways to manufacture really powerful answers so they can succeed and win.”
Both Hunt and Lafond will be based in the agency’s Toronto office, which recently underwent an executive shuffle. Andrew Bergstrom, the former executive vice-president and managing director at Cossette, was tapped to lead Vision 7’s new business consultancy called Aperture1.