AKQA has named its first-ever president for North America: Tesa Aragones, who most recently was chief marketing officer at Discord.
AKQA names first president for North America
Aragones will oversee the WPP agency's seven U.S. offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Portland and Miami. In addition to Discord, she held marketing positions at photo and video editing app VSCO along with automaker Volkswagen, and was a longtime digital marketing executive at Nike. Her new role does not encompass AKQA Group's Grey, according to an agency spokeswoman.
In her new position, Aragones will be charged with executing some aggressive growth, as AKQA plans to double the number of people working at its U.S. "studios"—AKQA parlance for offices—over the next five years, according to a press release. The agency currently employs 1,250 across its U.S. offices and the agency said Aragones will closely coordinate with AKQA's international team spread over 24 markets in addition to defining the agency's U.S. strategy and building its client base.
The appointment, said the spokeswoman, will give the agency's founder and CEO Ajaz Ahmed "more time to focus on expanding all aspects of AKQA’s business globally, allowing Tesa to focus on North America."
"I look forward to working alongside my exceptionally talented team and our influential client base to fuel the extraordinary growth potential ahead," said Aragones in a statement. "Our foremost goals are to inspire audiences with uplifting ideas and initiatives that stand out and to design remarkable experiences driving impact and societal progress for years to come."
"Her extensive multicultural, multidisciplinary leadership roles at preeminent brands—spanning categories and geographies—provide a unique perspective for our clients, employees, and industry to benefit from," said Ahmed in the statement.
Aragones' extensive tech background seems a good fit for AKQA, which bills itself as a digital-first design and innovation agency. She is credited with being the inventor of 12 Nike patents, including Nike+, NikeID and Nike+ Training Club. In her decade-long career at Nike, she held titles including global digital experience director and global digital brand director. She has also worked at agencies David & Goliath and the now-defunct DMB&B.
“Having worked on both sides of the business, I believe that I can bring to AKQA a unique perspective," responded Aragones to an email query about her decision to re-enter the agency world after working on a number of hot consumer and tech brands. "I have been very fortunate throughout my career to work on iconic brands and talented teams. Going back to the agency side feels exciting.”