Lowe and Partners is buying Montreal boutique agency Amuse, and founder Monica Ruffo will also become CEO of Toronto-based Lowe Roche, succeeding that agency's founder, Geoffrey Roche. Mr. Roche told Marketing magazine, Ad Age 's editorial partner in Canada, that he's not retiring.
"Oh my god, no. I can't," said the Lowe Roche boss this morning when asked if he was calling it quits at 58.
"I wouldn't say I'm getting out of the business, I am getting out of the business of the day-to-day of creating ads."
Instead, Mr. Roche will put all his energy full-time into a website company he started with his son Alexander called Poolhouse.
Lowe Roche staff were notified of the change this morning.
Replacing Mr. Roche will be Monica Ruffo, founder of Montreal boutique agency Amuse, which has also been acquired by Lowe and Partners, becoming part of Deutsch, which is Lowe's anchor company in North America.
Ms. Ruffo will be moving to Toronto to take over as CEO of both Amuse and Lowe Roche on Sept. 1.
Deutsch North American CEO Linda Sawyer said the company did not originally intend to buy a Montreal office.
When it became clear Mr. Roche was ready to leave, Deutsch started looking for someone to replace him as CEO. A recruiter was hired, tasked with finding someone who was entrepreneurial and driven with a record of integrated brand building, said Ms. Sawyer.
"[Ms. Ruffo's] name kept coming up as a really strong leader."
"She has amazing experience with Cossette, very much in the heyday of that company, and then the fact that she launched this company Amuse and in a short three-year period has had some great success doing great work," said Ms. Sawyer.
"And when we met her, we determined it would be a real asset to Lowe Roche and Deutsch to have an agency in the Montreal market."
Founded in 2008, Amuse counts Warner Bros. Films Canada, Couche-Tard, Speedware, ARTV, Ice Hotel and the One Drop Foundation among its clients.
"Expanding our footprint in Canada creates a strong national offering and bolsters our ability in North America to attract new global clients," Lowe and Partners Chairman Tony Wright said in a release.
"From the very beginning, the affinity with Deutsch was evident, even uncanny and very exciting," Ms. Ruffo said in the release. "The marriage of Amuse with Deutsch and Lowe Roche creates a much broader offering with tremendous depth and breadth of resources for clients across Canada."
"I think Monica is going to be great coming in here," said Mr. Roche. "She's very talented. I think she is sort of the perfect person to bring in."
Mr. Roche's next venture, Poolhouse Enterprises, produces online community applications for children, shoes and pets including dogs and cats.
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