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Karen Nayler To Retire As Mindshare Canada CEO; Devon MacDonald Named As Successor

MacDonald, Currently Chief Strategy Officer, to assume CEO role August 1, 2018.

TORONTO, March 22, 2018Mindshare North America, the global media agency that is part of WPP, today announced that Karen Nayler, chief executive officer of Mindshare Canada, will retire as CEO effective July 31, 2018. Devon MacDonald, currently chief strategy officer, will assume the role of chief executive officer as of August 1, 2018.

Nayler has been Mindshare Canada’s chief executive officer since 2012. She launched Mindshare into the Canadian market in 2000 and has grown the agency to become one of Canada’s largest and most well-respected media agencies. A veteran of the Canadian agency industry, Nayler started her career at JWT, where she served in both the Toronto and Vancouver offices. She’s held management roles within full-service and media agencies over the past 20 years and has led media and marketing across many of Canada’s top brands.

“Karen has been an exemplary leader of the Mindshare and Excelerator Media teams and a highly valued strategic partner to Mazda in Canada for many years,” said Dave Klan, senior director of sales, marketing, and regional operations at Mazda Canada. “Whether she was behind the scenes supporting our day-to-day team (the best in the business) or rolling up her sleeves to actively get involved in key strategic plans, Karen has made numerous contributions to enhance the value of the Mazda brand. We will miss Karen and wish her a long, happy and healthy retirement, and we appreciate the inspired team she has developed to continue our growth path forward.”

Most recently, Nayler led Mindshare Canada to be recognized for the effectiveness of its work in this year’s WARC 100, an annual rankings benchmark for commercial creativity. One of only four Canadian agencies to make the list, Mindshare Toronto was crowned the top-ranking Canadian media agency. In 2017, Nayler led the agency to be named Strategy Magazine’s Agency of the Year, taking home the bronze. The award honors the best of the best in creative, media, digital, PR, and design across all of Canada, with judges specifically scoring the strategic insight and creativity behind each agency’s campaigns.

“In my career, my biggest thrill was to launch Mindshare in Canada and see its immediate success. While the industry was spinning off media buying, we launched the House of Media and immediately focused on driving our clients’ business results. While a great deal has changed over the past 18 years, the fundamentals remain, and they’re about helping our clients build their brands and their business. I am honoured and pleased to have been surrounded by the best talent, great clients and an impressive global network. . . . It truly takes a team to succeed,” Nayler said. “I am also extremely happy to see that our succession planning works, and I am thrilled that Devon MacDonald will be stepping up into the CEO role. Devon has been my partner in leading Mindshare over the past two years. I am completely confident that he will drive even greater value for our clients with the numerous emerging opportunities.”

“Karen has had an inspiring career, where she’s enriched the lives of many Mindshare employees and clients alike for almost two decades and shaped the agency into what it is today. She will be immensely missed, and we wish her all the best in her retirement, which is well deserved,” said Stuart Garvie, CEO of GroupM Canada. “We are thrilled to promote Devon as her successor. With his background combining technology and creativity and his ongoing strategic vision for the agency, I have no doubt he will ensure continued growth and success for Mindshare Canada.”

MacDonald currently serves as chief strategy officer, leading planning and strategy across all Mindshare Canada clients. He was integral in launching the agency’s Content+ practice, creating a stronger link with media companies and vendors around the growing amount of content integration work being done with clients. MacDonald ascends to chief executive officer following a string of accolades credited to planning, strategy and creative. At Strategy Magazine’s Strategy Awards, Mindshare Canada took home the Grand Prix, plus two Golds and two Silvers. The agency was also awarded the Analytics award at the WARC Awards; collected three wins at the Ad Club of Toronto’s Out of Home Showdown, including the top award, Overall Showdown; and was awarded the Best Use of Technology at the inaugural Festival of Media North America awards. Additionally, programs from Canada directly contributed to recognition as the Global Agency of the Year at the Mobile Marketing Association’s SMARTIES Awards, which honor the best of the best in mobile across the globe.

“Karen is a central figure in the story of Mindshare, who inspired teams across the world. As a leader, she is incredibly committed to the growth of the agency and its constant innovation. And, as a mentor, she’s dedicated to the professional development of her teams. Her extraordinary accomplishments are admired and respected, and we look forward to celebrating her legacy and retirement,” said Ernie Simon, CEO, Mindshare North America. “Passing the baton to Devon MacDonald will be one of her greatest accomplishments. He brings a unique skillset to the role, and we’re thrilled for him to usher in a new era for Mindshare Canada.”

“I am honoured and excited to have the opportunity to lead one of the great agencies in our market and industry. Our teams are passionate, innovative and creative. It will be a joy to support and lead their efforts to bring creative media ideas and solutions to our clients," said Devon MacDonald, chief strategy officer and incoming CEO, Mindshare Canada. "I am particularly excited about the future of media in Canada and what Mindshare has to offer across our broad and strong client set.”

With a background in the technology and creative worlds, MacDonald joined Mindshare NA from leading digital agency 360i, where he served as managing director for the agency’s Toronto office. In his role, MacDonald led the office from its launch in 2013—growing staff, driving new business and leading client work. Prior to that, he served as VP of engagement planning for DentsuBos (a sister agency under the Dentsu Network), where he led the planning and strategy team. Prior to joining the agency world, Devon served as a Managing Consultant in IBM’s Consulting Division advising Fortune 500 companies in North America in Consumer Engagement Strategy for Sales and Marketing. Earlier in his career, MacDonald served as executive director for reBOOT Canada and was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, an honor for Canadians who have made outstanding and exemplary contributions to their communities or the country.