AKQA Opens Two New U.S. Offices

Additions bring WPP agency's U.S. shops to total of five

Newly-minted WPP agency AKQA has opened two new offices in the U.S. to support current accounts in those markets, the agency announced Monday.

Newly-minted WPP agency AKQA has opened two new offices in the U.S. to support current accounts in those markets, the agency announced Monday.

AKQA has staffs of about a dozen each in its new offices in Portland, Ore.; and Atlanta, said chairman Tom Bedecarre, and plans to grow those teams across disciplines, including creative, account, and technology disciplines. “We already have some business with existing clients,” he said. “We see additional opportunities to explore."

The agency signed the lease for its Portland office, which will provide proximity to the Beaverton headquarters of staple client Nike, on Aug. 20. Two other accounts, Delta Airlines and Turner Broadcasting, are headquartered in the Peach State capital. Verizon Wireless, whose digital account the AKQA picked up earlier this year, also has a large presence there. AKQA opened a temporary office there on Sept. 5 after a longer-term lease fell through.

AKQA's moves to open offices in those cities preceded its acquisition, which closed in late July, Bedecarre said. The agency expects to build on its global footprint next, “better evidence of the kind of support we’re going to get as being part of WPP,” he added. The sale was announced in June during the Cannes advertising festival.

The new shops are AKQA’s fourth and fifth locations in the U.S., following San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., and its ninth and tenth globally. AKQA has offices in London, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Shanghai, and Paris, which opened in January to support Nike France. Overall, the agency employs more than 1,200 people and is looking to fill some 75 open positions, Bedacarre said.

Since WPP bought AKQA this summer, a number of executives have reportedly left the agency, including executive creative director Pierre Lipton, who took a job in August as M&C Saatchi’s chief creative officer after a two-year stint at AKQA’s San Francisco shop. Jennifer Remling, its one-and-a-half-year global director of recruiting, and David Bentley, a nine-year veteran of the New York office, are also no longer with AKQA, it confirmed. U.S. chief creative officer Rei Inamoto, promoted last week to vice president, has taken over Bentley's client services responsibilities, which include accounts Verizon Wireless, Safeway, and Kraft's Wheat Thins.

Bedecarre dismissed the notion that those exits marked anything other than the churn that's normal in the industry (and much lamented by it). “I don't see it as a trend,” he said. “We're under a lot attention right now. Every person that comes and goes, it’s noticed.”

@GabrielBeltrone gabriel.beltrone@gmail.com Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.