AKQA Lures O’Dell From Rival Carat

As part of an aggressive growth strategy, AKQA has tapped Carat vp of business development Andrew O’Dell to reel in new clients as senior vice president.

“Now that the economy has turned around and we are looking at a true expansion plan, we are executing on that by hiring an svp,” said Kate Everett-Thorp, 35, who joined AKQA as president of interactive services in June.

The move is a reunion for Everett-Thorp and O’Dell, who will focus on the U.S. market; in 1998, they were among five co-founders at Lot21, a Bay Area i-shop that was sold to Carat Interactive in 2002.

“With the industry turning around, I felt it was time and could be fortuitous if we got together,” noted O’Dell, 34, who reports to Everett-Thorp. Some of the accounts they won during their Lot21 days were Bank of America and Unilever.

Added Everett-Thorp, “We had such a home run together with Lot21 … I was ecstatic to hear from [O’Dell], especially now that he’s broadened his experience offline.”

O’Dell left Lot21 in 2001 to work on the traditional media side at Aegis Group’s Carat in San Francisco, where his new business coups included TiVo and Intuit.

The recent hires continue CEO Tom Bedecarre’s effort to expand the executive ranks of the 300-person, four-office independent shop, which claimed revenue of $36 million in 2003, up 20 percent from the previous year. In August, AKQA named former SBI.Razorfish vp of client services Shane Ginsberg, 31, as managing director of the San Francisco headquarters.