NEW YORK Avenue A/Razorfish promoted president Clark Kokich to CEO as the agency seeks to establish its independent status ahead of joining Microsoft.
Kokich was named worldwide president of Avenue A/Razorfish, part of aQuantive, two years ago.
Since then, he has led the interactive shop's expansion into six new markets abroad, in both Europe and Asia.
The move comes as Avenue A/Razorfish, along with aQuantive's ad network and ad serving units, prepare to become part of Microsoft as part of its $6 billion deal to acquire aQuantive. Microsoft and aQuantive executives have stressed that Avenue A/Razorfish, which is the largest buyer of online advertising, would remain separate from Microsoft's units that sell ads.
The unusual structure has led some industry analysts and fellow agency executives to suggest Microsoft will end up spinning off the agency business, which Microsoft executives have denied.
"We're very optimistic we can manage the need for impartiality," Kokich said. "We've done that for years from within aQuantive."
While Avenue A/Razorfish will remain apart from Microsoft in many ways, Kokich said it would help the agency continue its international growth strategy.
"It will make it easier for us to continue the growth because of Microsoft's global reach and financial resources," he said.
Kokich joined the agency in 1999, serving as its West region president before taking global duties. He was formerly CEO of Calla Bay, a clothing retailer, and a sales executive at AT&T Wireless Services.