NEW YORK Ogilvy North America is bringing on AKQA co-chief creative officer Lars Bastholm as its chief digital creative officer, a newly created position.
Bastholm, 40, will be responsible for Ogilvy's digital creative work in North America. He will report to Jan Leth, global digital creative, and work with J.P. Maheu, chief digital officer for Ogilvy. (Watch a video with Leth and Basthold discussing the move.)
"It boils down to a lot of digital agencies don't have the contact at the CMO level," said Bastholm. "What you can do is not as impactful all the time."
The recruitment of Bastholm is a major coup for Ogilvy. He spent more than four years at AKQA, where he helped open its New York office. At AKQA, he worked on the Coca-Cola, Smirnoff and Motorola accounts. He was recently chosen as the jury chief for the Cannes Cyber Lions.
Discussions with Leth, Maheu and Ogilvy & Mather worldwide creative director Tham Khai Meng convinced Bastholm that he would have more of an opportunity to pursue digital as a medium for brand storytelling.
"I sense so much ambition for what the next iteration of Ogilvy is going to be," he said. "I bought into the whole vision for that."
Carla Hendra, CEO of Ogilvy N.A., said the hire is an affirmation of the Ogilvy model that combines a digital specialist unit, OgilvyInteractive, with its above-the-line and below-the-line marketing and advertising disciplines.
"I don't look at R/GA and AKQA and anyplace else as more digital than Ogilvy," she said. "I'm constantly puzzled why anybody would. We choose to do something bigger because we have a large-scale global business."
Prior to joining AKQA, Bastholm worked at Framfab in Denmark. AKQA CEO Tom Bedecarre recruited Bastholm to the independent agency in late 2004, one of a trio of high-profile creative hires along with P.J. Pereira and Rei Inamoto. Pereira left last year, along with AKQA exec Andrew O'Dell, to form a new shop, Pereira O'Dell.
Inamoto, based in San Francisco, has served as co-chief creative officer for AKQA. He will now lead creative for New York and San Francisco. AKQA today said it has hired Johan Vakidis as ecd at its office in Shanghai, which handles clients such as Unilever, Kraft, Diageo and Hilton.