Ogilvy Hires Bastholm Away from AKQA

After a lengthy courtship, Ogilvy has hired AKQA’s Lars Bastholm as chief digital creative officer, a newly created role.

Bastholm left his position as co-chief creative officer at AKQA, where he oversaw the agency’s creative efforts in North America. He was previously executive creative director, and was originally hired at the digital agency to open its New York office. The opportunity to work openly with other channels was one of the draws of the Ogilvy job. “There were so many opportunities to make a difference here at Ogilvy, and work somewhere that was not siloed,” said Bastholm.

Prior to coming to the U.S., the Danish-born Bastholm started his career at Grey Interactive in Scandinavia and later joined Framfab in Copenhagen, Denmark as creative director.

“I started my career in traditional advertising, then they started the Internet, and being the hopeless geek that I am I spent too much time in digital advertising,” Bastholm said.

When he starts on May 4, he will work with J.P. Maheu, Ogilvy’s chief digital officer. “He needs a creative partner, and that’s what Lars will be,” said Carla Hendra, CEO of Ogilvy North America.

He will be based in the New York office. “But my guess is I’ll work out of pretty much every office,” said Bastholm. “I already have a laptop, that’s what you need, and Twitter of course.” He twitters under @Bastholm, and will likely frequent Ogilvy’s offices in Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, and Durham. Since his official start date is still a month away he won’t talk strategy. “I’m looking forward to doing a state of the nation tour in all of the offices before making any statements,” he said.

Bastholm was recruited by Jan Leth, vice chairman and global digital creative. The two conducted an interview, which was posted on YouTube. When Leth was promoted to his current role, Bastholm became a natural fit. “Jan had been working on recruiting Lars for some time,” said Hendra. “We made North America a starting point for Lars.”

Once started, Bastholm will work across all of the agency’s clients, which include IBM, American Express, and TD Ameritrade.

AKQA hasn’t yet named a replacement for Bastholm.

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