Engine has hired Ogilvy UK head of strategy Gen Kobayashi as chief strategy officer for its Creative division. He replaces Matt Willifer, who left earlier this year.
Kobayashi has worked at agencies including Adam & Eve/DDB, DLKW Lowe (now MullenLowe London) and The Brooklyn Brothers on brands including Halifax, Jaguar Land Rover, Unilever and Volkswagen.
He has spent the past five years at Ogilvy, where he led brand strategy for Expedia, Kronenbourg 1664 and Vodafone, as well as a number of government clients.
Kobayashi was responsible for setting up Ogilvy's Effectiveness Council, leading to the agency winning multiple IPA Effectiveness, Effie and Account Planning Group awards.
He joins Engine in May and will report to Engine Creative chief executive Ete Davies.
Davies said: "Gen is the long sought-after ‘missing piece’ of our leadership team. He’s an exceptional brand strategist and a progressive thinker. He shares all the values we’re looking for as we build the modern creative agency here at Engine, and our belief in the role brand and brand purpose can play in driving innovation and growth for businesses.
"Plus, he’s got a proven track record in building and leading world-class integrated strategy teams. I’m excited to have him join us on our journey."