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john st. Evolves Leadership Team with Hires and Promotions


Just shy of its 21st birthday, john st. announces a series of promotions and new hires across the agency, including changes to its executive leadership team

john st. Evolves Leadership Team with Hires and Promotions

john st. has promoted Allison (Ally) Ballantyne to the role of president. Ally joined john st. at the start of 2021 as EVP, account management with 20 years of experience leading clients and teams. She started her career in advertising working on the McDonald's Canada account before joining their marketing department in 2004. Ultimately, being at the heart of creativity is where Ally’s passion lies which led her to return to advertising nearly 15 years ago. She joined Leo Burnett and rose to the position of SVP account management and director of operations supporting businesses such as Bell and Kraft Heinz.

Ally takes on this leadership position as Stephanie Hurst, CEO of john st. made the decision to step down from her role and leave the agency at the end of June. First announced to agency staffers and clients earlier in the Spring, Stephanie has been transitioning her duties and setting up the new executive team for success. 

“I am thrilled that Ally will be stepping up to the role of president,” said Stephanie. “She has proven to be a fearless, but compassionate leader. Her solutions-oriented mindset has made her a trusted advisor to our clients and I’m confident that john st. will continue to achieve great things under her leadership.”

“Stephanie’s leadership and contributions to the agency and our clients over the past 10 years has been invaluable,” added Arthur Fleischmann, group CEO, Ogilvy Canada & john st. and WPP Country Manager. “She has been a partner and mentor to many marketers and john st.’ers alike, especially during these challenging pandemic years, and I’m happy for her and her next chapter. I’m also excited for Ally and the new executive team as they continue leading john st. through its next chapter.”

Matt Ball is joining the agency as chief strategy officer, replacing Megan Towers who recently retired after 15 years at john st. Matt hails from Wunderman Thompson where he held progressive strategy roles over the last seven years, most recently as co-chief strategy officer leading the brand design and communication practices. There, through the merger of JWT, Wunderman and Mirium, Matt learned the value of merging data and technology across the entire customer journey to unlock the power of creativity. His cross-category experience spans major brands including Pepsi, Doritos, Lays, Coors, Mazda, HSBC and Nestle.

Completing john st.’s executive team is: Tishan Canagasaby, EVP, account management who joined the agency just over a year ago and previously held positions at Cossette, BIMM and McCann; Cher Campbell, chief creative officer; and Cas Binnington, chief delivery officer (currently on maternity leave). 

The agency has also made several senior additions and promotions over the last six months in response to evolving business needs. Jamie Marcovitch joins john st. as executive creative director from Rethink where he served as creative director. He previously held senior creative roles at Anomaly, Ogilvy and BBDO. Jessica DeSantis also joined earlier in the year as a business lead after spending six years at Juniper Park/TBWA.

Within the agency, john st. has promoted Cam Boyd from creative director to executive creative director, and associate creative director Natalie Mathers adds head of art to her title. Both have been with the agency since 2018. Erin Brittain has been promoted from strategy director to group strategy director (currently on maternity leave). And Shanaaz Withana has been promoted to EVP, finance while Sanjeev Thiruaruljothy takes on the position of director, financial operations. Developing people and future leaders has long been a part of john st.’s talent and retention strategy – in 2021, the agency promoted 21 people, and so far in 2022 have already promoted 11 people, across all levels and disciplines.

On the new business front, john st. has recently picked up assignments from clients including Goodfood (#1 meal-kit delivery company), Pet Supplies Plus (US-based national pet retailer) and Fit4Less (discount fitness gym with 100+ locations across Canada).

In looking ahead to what’s next for the agency, president Ally Ballantyne says, “john st. has a rich DNA and longstanding creative reputation for doing unignorable work. We’re excited to keep building on how we harness creativity to solve real business problems for our clients, and make john st. a place where our people feel proud to do great work.”  

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john st., Wed, 29 Jun 2022 08:47:18 GMT