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AKQA appoints Sam Sterling as MD for greater China and Japan

AKQA’s Sam Sterling and Brian Vella

AKQA has promoted Sam Sterling as managing director of Greater China and Japan. This marks an expansion of Sterling’s previous mandate as managing director of China.

Sterling replaces Aika Sawai who is stepping down from the Japan operations due to personal reasons. While Sawai was with AKQA for over six years, she had spent just four months in the managing director role. She will stay till the end of September to facilitate a smooth transition. 

A note from AKQA credited Sterling with powering growth across the China region, ever since she took charge in February 2018 with new clients such as Evian and Ford. AKQA pegged the growth of its operation in the country at 22%. The agency has also set benchmarks in terms of staff retention. 

Speaking about Sterling’s promotion, AKQA Asia-PAcific managing partner Brian Vella said: “Over the past 18 months, Sam has demonstrated an ability to live and breathe AKQA’s values.

“Under her leadership, we have witnessed tremendous business growth, as well as the development of a strong, innovative and collaborative working culture that delivers work beyond our clients’ expectations. 

“Her appointment to managing director, Greater China and Japan was a natural decision, with her passion for Asia, strategic design and technology experience supplementing this. 

“I would like to thank Aika for her dedication to AKQA over the last seven years. As one of our founding staff members in the Tokyo office, she has left a strong legacy. We wish her the very best.”  

Sterling added: “Since joining AKQA, I continue to be impressed with the agency’s commitment to developing innovative products and services for our clients, as well as a working environment that allows this level of thinking to thrive. 

“China and Japan represent two of the most innovative and culturally-interesting markets in the region, and there couldn’t be a more exciting time to be working with our ambitious clients and partners to drive their businesses to the next level across both markets.” 

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