NEW YORK Independent agency AKQA has named SBI Group veteran Tim Pierce chief financial officer as the shop eyes growth opportunities abroad.

Pierce was CFO at SBI for eight years. During his tenure, the company rolled up several Web shops, including Razorfish, Scient/iXL, Lante and MarchFirst. SBI.Razorfish was sold to aQuantive in June 2004.

Pierce becomes San Francisco-based AKQA’s first CFO in five years. The agency has grown to 420 employees, up from 375 at the end of the 2005. Its clients include Coca-Cola, Microsoft’s xBox and Nike.

AKQA chief executive Tom Bedecarre said Pierce’s experience gained during SBI’s rapid expansion would aid AKQA as it moves into new markets in Europe and China. AKQA already has outposts in London and Singapore, and it launched a mobile marketing unit in February.

“We’re looking at international expansion,” he said. “Our business is getting bigger and more complex. We wanted to bring more senior guts to our executive leadership team.”

Prior to joining SBI, Pierce worked in financial positions at Mrs. Fields Cookies, Price Waterhouse and Deloitte & Touche. He is currently on the board of directors at BriteSmile, a teeth-whitening company.