Hakuhodo invigorates its Asia-Pacific network with massive injection of creative firepower

Tokyo—April 17, 2017—Hakuhodo Inc. (Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masayuki Mizushima, President & CEO), Japan’s second largest advertising agency group, today announced the appointment of Yang Yeo and Kentaro Kimura as APAC Co-Chief Creative Officers. With their talent, fame, diverse management experience and track records, the bold move to bring the two industry superstars together signals Hakuhodo’s ambition and commitment to raise its creative firepower beyond Japan. 

Kentaro Kimura (left) and Yang Yeo (right), the two APAC Co-CCOs
Photo: HAKUHODO PRODUCT S INC. Photo Creative Division

“Two brains are stronger than one,” says Masaru Kitakaze, Worldwide CCO and Senior Corporate Officer of Hakuhodo Inc. “This new dual-leadership will provide our business partners with the best of both worlds—in delivering truly global creative standards and point-of-view, without losing our heritage and DNA.” He added that “These two mega talents are fearless. I needed brave leaders to break down barriers, explore uncharted territories, and innovate without the traditional baggage.”

Ichiro Zama, President of Hakuhodo International and Senior Corporate Officer of Hakuhodo Inc., said, “This will help to address increasingly sophisticated and demanding business needs globally. Kentaro will be based in Tokyo while Yang will be in Singapore and travel frequently to China. They are both highly mobile and will be involved in each local marketplace rather than managing from a distance in regional HQ. They can come together to lead a team or operate separately to broaden their coverage to achieve an effective, efficient, and flexible partnership.”

Yang Yeo said, “Hakuhodo has an ambitious yet realistic plan, and I could clearly see how my partnership with Kentaro-san, whom I have respected and known as friends for many years, could contribute to the grand plan to propel Hakuhodo forward, especially outside of Japan.”

Prior to joining Hakuhodo, Singapore-born Yang was ECD of Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai. He started his advertising career in 1992 with Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore, gained global experience from BBH in London, built Fallon in Singapore and Hong Kong, led TBWAShanghai to win China’s first Gold Lion at Cannes, and guided JWT to China’s first ever Cannes Grand Prix. The agencies he led won Agency of the Year, his clients were named Marketer of the Year, and he was crowned Creative of the Year in the 2011 Agency of the Year awards presented by Campaign Asia-Pacific magazine. Besides his fame in advertising, Yang is also renowned for his spatial and architectural design projects, and in
2012 he was awarded Designer of the Year by Dr. Tony Tan, the President of the Republic of Singapore.

Kentaro Kimura commented, “I first met Yang when we were both judges at ADFEST 2009 and we got along from the onset; our tastes and stances on the work very similar. The chemistry and trust we’ve built over the years will be essential elements in our new role as partners. He is a true global talent and I can’t wait to get on with it.”

Besides the task of strengthening Hakuhodo’s creative capabilities, especially in the areas of talent, skillsets, and reputation, Yang and Kentaro’s responsibility extends to strategic planning and integrated marketing in the Asia Pacific. Furthermore, Kentaro will continue his role as Co-CEO and ECD of Hakuhodo Kettle in Japan.

Kentaro started with Hakuhodo in 1992. He soon developed a unique planning and creative style that blurs the boundaries between strategy, creative, digital, and PR, making sure the ideas can work seamlessly across multiple disciplines. In 2006, he established Hakuhodo Kettle, a boutique creative agency that plans and implements innovative campaigns that look beyond traditional advertising methods. The goal is for Hakuhodo Kettle to serve up boiling hot ideas to the world. Kentaro has won 8 Grand Prix amongst his hundred+ creative awards; judged at more than 20 international award festivals, including as Titanium & Integrated Lions jury member at Cannes, Promo & Direct Jury President at ADFEST and Digital & Mobile Jury President at Spikes Asia; and was selected as official speaker at Cannes Lions in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Media contacts:
Corporate Public Relations Division
Satoshi Okubo: [email protected]
Tel: +81 3 6441 6161 Fax: +81 3 6441 6166

■ About Hakuhodo Inc.
Founded in 1895, Hakuhodo Inc. is an integrated advertising and communication agency headquartered in Japan. It is the core agency of Hakuhodo DY Group, the world’s seventh largest agency company according to Advertising Age’s “Agency Report 2016.” Hakuhodo has offices in 18 countries and regions, and over 3,000 employees working in Japan and over 2,800 overseas. Hakuhodo is strengthening its structure in emerging countries, particularly those in Asia, as it prepares to further expand its business across
the region.

Sei-katsu-sha insight is the foundation for Hakuhodo’s thinking, planning, and brand building. It reminds us that consumers are more than shoppers performing an economic function. They have heartbeats. They are individuals with distinct lifestyles. Hakuhodo introduced this term in the 1980s to emphasize its commitment to a comprehensive, 360-degree perspective on consumers’ lives. Renowned for its creativity, Hakuhodo has twice won the Grand Prix at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and was the only agency headquartered in Asia to be awarded a Special Lion commemorating Cannes
Lions’ 50th anniversary in 2003.

To learn more, visit: www.hakuhodo.jp