Stephen Clements, longtime veteran of the AKQA organization who currently serves as ECD in its San Francisco office, will be leaving the agency to “pursue other opportunities.”
He does so after more than a decade with AKQA, which he joined as a head of graphics/video back in 2003 before moving up to the CD role in 2010 and being selected, along with Neil Robinson, to replace departing ECD Pierre Lipton in 2012. (Lipton spent two years at M&C Saatchi before leaving to become CCO at 360i back in October.)
During his tenure, Clements helped run creative for clients such as Apple, Target, Verizon, and Google Glass.
From AKQA Managing Director Simon Jefferson:
“Stephen has been a strong creative leader and valuable mentor for our team in San Francisco. We’re grateful for the contributions he’s made to our business and wish him all the best in his next endeavor.”
…and from Clements himself:
“I’m a big fan of AKQA and am proud of all that we’ve achieved in collaboration with our forward-thinking clients. It’s an incredibly talented group of people, and I’m honored to have been part of the growth and success of one of the world’s best agencies.”
As to the why, we hear that Clements plans to run his own “incubator,” that he already has at least one major investor, and that the entire project — according to a source — may be funded by another agency entirely.
In other former AKQA executives news, Robinson — who left in March 2014 to co-found the San Francisco office of Zeus Jones — departed from that gig in January to help launch still-new agency Chapter SF.
Expect to hear more about Clements’ project in coming months.