R/GA’s ECD On Nike Lands At AKQA

Just three weeks after hiring a creative who worked on Nike at an award-winning shop in Denmark, AKQA has recruited the executive creative director on the Nike account at R/GA, another high-profile hire.

Rei Inamoto begins today at AKQA as global creative director, a new post overseeing global brands such as Nike and Xbox, following a five-year stint at Interpublic Group’s R/GA in New York.

The 30-year-old native of Japan, a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said he was attracted by AKQA’s “global footprint.” (The San Francisco-based independent has offices in New York, London, Washington and Singapore.) “I was interested in working on accounts that went beyond one nationality or one domestic country,” said Inamoto, who will be based in AKQA’s New York office.

His hire comes three weeks after another Nike creative, Lars Bastholm, joined as ecd in New York. Bastholm, 35, arrived from Framfab, a Copenhagen, Denmark, i-shop known for its award-winning Nike Europe work.

“This is not about a plot for controlling the world on Nike,” said AKQA CEO Tom Bedecarré, to whom both report. “It was more [about] a common language that we all spoke.”

Since 1998, AKQA’s relationship with Nike has expanded from London into Europe and the Asia Pacific region. R/GA has been Nike’s primary i-shop in the U.S. for the past three years.

“We’re not concerned about covering the business from a creative level—we have such a strong bench,” said R/GA chairman and CEO Bob Greenberg, noting that he is promoting a number of creatives and is in the midst of hiring two cds, one dedicated to the Nike account and another for online marketing.