David Blecken
May 20, 2019

AKQA's leadership changes in Japan

Yoichiro Basso has left the agency after two years, one of which was its strongest so far.

AKQA's Tokyo office (image from AKQA's corporate website)
AKQA's Tokyo office (image from AKQA's corporate website)

Yoichiro Basso has left AKQA Tokyo after two years as managing director. Aika Sawai, formerly executive director of delivery and operations, is to replace him.

Basso did not specify what his next move would be. Sawai joined AKQA seven years ago, starting out as an account manager for Nike.

In an emailed statement after Campaign first reported the management change, Brian Vella, managing partner for Asia-Pacific, said "there is no one who better understands our team and the marketplace than Aika".

Sawai said when she first joined AKQA she had been attracted to the company's values and "commitment to meaningful innovation". She said as MD she aimed to "realise a truly creative and innovative studio in Japan for talented, ambitious individuals regardless of their background, ethnicity or gender".

Basso joined AKQA in 2017 from a senior marketing role at Uber in San Francisco.

Last year, the Tokyo office saw its most commercially successful year since its establishment, with double-digit growth fueled by the addition of business from Netflix, Amazon, Lion and Evian.

This article has been updated to include comments from AKQA.

Yoichiro Basso
Aika Sawai


Campaign Japan

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