AKQA Names Jim Rossman Chief Operating Officer

Former Digitas Exec's Hiring Reflects Digital Shop's Growth

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- AKQA has hired Digitas Chief Operating Officer Jim Rossman to assume the same role at the San Francisco-based digital shop.

AKQA CEO Tom Bedecarre said the hire is the result of the company's growth and the need for another senior member of its executive team.

"We have six offices around the world, a search subsidiary in SearchRev, and we continue to look at other acquisition and geographic opportunities," he said. "It's important to have a leadership team that's big enough to cover all the internal and external requirements."

According to Ad Age DataCenter analysis of data for 2007, the most recent year available, Digitas' revenue was $415 million, about three times AKQA's $128 million. In 2008 AKQA's revenue grew to $140 million. It is owned by private-equity firm General Atlantic and has 700 employees among its offices in San Francisco, New York, Washington, London, Amsterdam and Shanghai.

Mr. Rossman, a Kellogg M.B.A., worked in management consulting and logged stints at Y&R and Wunderman before joining Digitas in 2001. According to his Digitas bio, he also manages "meaningful senior relationships with clients General Motors and American Express."

Mr. Bedecarre praised Mr. Rossman's experiences and said, "It's fantastic to have someone who spans everything we touch: one part consulting, direct marketing, digital and advertising."

The move also reunites Mr. Rossman with Anton Levy, a partner at General Atlantic who sits on AKQA's board. Messrs. Rossman and Levy are friends from Y&R, where Mr. Levy worked briefly during Mr. Rossman's tenure at the agency.

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