The as-yet-unnamed agency is backed by an investor Mr. Pereira declined to name. He said AKQA will also be involved in the new shop, which is just starting to look for employees, clients and office space.
At AKQA, Mr. O'Dell oversaw advertising operations nationally and developed relationships with clients such as Coca-Cola, ESPN and Gap. Mr. Pereira worked on U.S. business for Visa and Target and the international business for McDonald's. The new agency is expected to a broad focus and a strong digital component.
Both men have been involved with start-ups before. Mr. O'Dell was a co-founder of digital agency Lot21, which was acquired by Carat Interactive in 2002. He was VP-business development for Carat before joining AKQA in 2004 as a senior VP.
Mr. Pereira, a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was involved in the start-up of Sao Paulo-based Agencia Click, Brazil's biggest digital agency, which was acquired last year by Aegis Group, Carat's parent company. Mr. Pereira moved to the U.S. in January 2005 to join AKQA and later that year was president of the cyber jury at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. He was named one of Advertising Age's "40 Under 40" last year.
AKQA CEO Tom Bedecarre had no comment on the departures. AKQA last year sold a majority stake in itself to the private-equity firm General Atlantic for an undisclosed amount.
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Contributing: Alice Cuneo