WPP digital agency AKQA appointed Sam Sterling as chief strategy officer across Asia-Pacific. She previously Sterling led the AKQA Shanghai and Tokyo studios for three years and a year ago was given overall charge of both markets after the Tokyo managing director Aika Sawai quit for personal reasons.
The new appointment is effective immediately.
Since joining AKQA in February 2018, the studios under Sterling’s leadership have won a range of clients including Maserati and Hyperice, as well as signing a partnership with Japanese conglomerate Itochu, the agency said.
Across Asia Pacific, Sterling will now work more closely with the teams in Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney, Tokyo and Wellington. AKQA's clients include Nike, YouTube, Bridgestone, BMW, Netflix and Bunnings. In a previous interview with Campaign, Sterling indicated that she intended to lean on her strategy skills to drive AKQA's growth across Japan and China and now seemingly across APAC.
Brian Vella, managing partner of AKQA Asia-Pacific praised Sterling's consistent results and her "excellent contribution and influence for our teams and clients".
Sterling will continue to be based China and to work closely with both the Chinese and Japanese businesses. "Living in China, I feel I’m immersed in the most innovative market in the world, and there couldn’t be a more exciting time to both contribute to the growth in China, but translate learnings into impactful outcomes in the West,” she said in a media statement.
Sterling recently completed her post-graduate studies in Innovation at Harvard University. Today, she is a doctoral candidate in a joint business administration program between China’s Fudan and England’s Durham Universities, where she is exploring the role of innovation in the ongoing performance of businesses.