AKQA Co-Founder James Hilton Joins Design Studio Native as Co-CCO

By Erik Oster 

AKQA co-founder James Hilton, who left the agency in November of 2014 to launch a London design firm called AtelierStrange has now landed at industrial design specialist studio Native as co-chief creative officer.

Native was founded by principal designer Morten Warren in 1997 and has offices in both London and San Francisco. It counts HP, Audi, Bentley and Pernod Ricard among its clients. Hilton will share CCO duties with recently appointed president Marcus Hoggarth.

“Marcus is a formidable industrial designer with enormous experience and so heads up that discipline within the team, however it’s the intersection of our combined complimentary skills that leads us to far more interesting destinations than could ever be achieved by the old-world model of departments and division,” Hilton told Campaign.


In accepting the role at Native, Hilton will pit his AtelierStrange project on hiatus. “It would have been entirely mental to pass up the opportunity of working with one of the worlds finest product design studios,” he explained to Campaign. “Morten has built a formidable team of exceptionally talented individuals, and it is a daunting prospect to work alongside such craftspeople. If ever there was a Bauhaus for the twenty-first century, this is it, and it is an honour to be part of their future.”

Hilton’s departure was the beginning of a series of executive changes for AKWA. After he left, the agency promoted Rei Inamoto to worldwide CCO, but Inamoto left along with New York general manager Rem Reynolds in September of 2015. Agency veteran and San Francisco executive creative director Stephen Clements left the agency that April. That November executive creative director Sung Chang left the agency to become CCO at MRM//McCann. The following month, London-based executive creative director Jason McCann also left the agency, with Wayne Deakin replacing him as creative co-lead for its London office this past January. More recently, the agency parted ways with London-based global chief technology officer Ben Jones in October.

Photo: Campaign