Taxi hires Jelleyman, shifts Mykolyn to new role

European heavy-hitter joins Canadian agency network

European heavy-hitter joins Canadian agency network

Frazer Jelleyman (left) and Steve Mykolyn

Taxi has hired British creative Frazer Jelleyman as global chief creative officer.

“Taxi is a great company with a great heritage,” Jelleyman told Marketing. “Great work for two decades, both for their clients and within the wider culture. Who doesn’t want to be part of greatness?”

Jelleyman’s award-winning career has included stops at Red Bee, David & Goliath and TBWA/London.

The hire is part of a management reshuffle that sees former creative officer Steve Mykolyn assume the new role of chief brand officer.

Mykolyn will continue to be a creative resource for the agency, but the awesomely named Jelleyman and the creative directors reporting in to him are now responsible for maintaining the agency’s creative pedigree.

“He does have the name,” said Mykolyn of the agency’s newest hire. “The first time I saw it I probably did what everybody does and said ‘This is an interesting name.’”

Mykolyn was so intrigued, in fact, that he did some research into the roots of the Jelleyman name, discovering that it was the most popular surname in Britain in the early 1600s.

“It’s going to be popular again 400 years later,” said Mykolyn.

The Jelleyman hire was the result of a search that spanned four continents and included countless interviews. He was hired based on what Mykolyn called a “track record of great work” for clients including the BBC, Kia and Red Bull, and leadership qualifications earned as European ECD of David & Goliath and most recently as group creative director at Red Bee (which was named European agency of the year at PromaxBDA Europe 2012 for its work on the BBC business).

Mykolyn said he first started discussions about defining his new role and finding his successor with Taxi co-founder and chairman Paul Lavoie and CEO Rob Guenette more than a year ago.

“We work on all these great brands, and we do great work for them, but what about our own?” he said.

While Mykolyn said it is the work that ultimately defines and differentiates any agency, his role will be to amplify the Taxi philosophy (“Doubt the conventional. Create the exceptional”) to both external and internal stakeholders.

Taxi projects such as the Mini Auction, the book Doubt and 15 Below are manifestations of the approach, he said. Mykolyn said he is currently working on a couple of new initiatives that embody the role, although he was tight-lipped about their nature.

“The best way to characterize them is ‘Wow, that’s a different way of approaching a problem,’” said Mykolyn. “I’ve always looked at things differently, and to be able to do that now with our own brand is the job. This will be my primary focus.”

Mykolyn said that the agency’s focus will continue to be standout, effective work for clients. “We’re not changing into a different company,” he stressed. “It’s not just Frazer that’s responsible for that, it’s every single person at the agency.”

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