JWT Asia Pacific CEO Tom Doctoroff today announced the promotions of Hironobu Kitajima to the role of Managing Director of JWT Japan, and Takumi Ichihara to the position of General Manager.
Kitajima, known by both colleagues and clients as “Chief”, joined JWT Japan in 2009 as the lead account director for TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, Ricoh, Bayer and Amway. In 2012, he took on added duties as managing account director, including financial oversight over all of JWT Japan’s client accounts. Prior to joining JWT, Kitajima worked at on a range of multinational accounts at both Hakuhodo:Lintas and Hakuhodo Inc. He holds a BA in Accounting from the Faculty of Commerce at Chuo University.
Kitajima, an avid golfer and passionate sports fan, brings an upbeat, infectious ‘go’ mentality to the role of Managing Director.
“I’m really excited about this role,” said Kitajima. “My first step, and every one after that, will be to motivate and energize the staff. I want to create a sense of excitement and possibility that will empower our people and resonate with our clients.”
Ichihara has worked at JWT Japan for his entire career. He joined JWT 21 years ago, after graduating from Meiji University with a BA in Business Administration, and has worked with a wide range of major international and domestic clients over his career, including Disney Entertainment, Jaguar, Jack Daniels, Unilever Lux, and Schick. He has also been a principle driver of Brand Nurturing, the framework developed by JWT Japan that introduces universal brand building concepts in a culturally-relevant context that Japanese clients have been quick to embrace.
“Japanese companies have strong ambitions to go multinational, but need to break out of their cultural silo before they can succeed outside Japan. JWT, with its Worldmade philosophy, has already helped many of our own clients embark on a regional push, and I want to build on that, and make JWT Japan synonymous with corporate Japan’s multinational ambitions,” said Ichihara.
JWT Japan, which was established in 1956, is the oldest foreign-affiliated advertising agency in Japan, and currently employs 150 people.
“The promotions of Chief and Ichi ensure that JWT's leadership will boast a winning combination of depth and dynamism,” said Doctoroff. “What’s special about Chief is his take-no-prisoners passion. Clients and colleagues feel his drive and commitment. Ichi is a rare fusion of apolitical account warrior and strategist, a true ‘passionate professor’. I have every confidence that together, they will take JWT Japan to the next level."