Ogilvy head of strategy joins Engine Creative as CSO

Engine Creative has hired Gen Kobayashi as its chief strategy officer, replacing Matt Willifer, who left the agency last summer as part of the agency’s reboot, along with other long-serving names including founder Robin Wight and CEO Matt Edwards.

Kobayashi joins from Ogilvy where he was head of strategy, working with Vodafone, Expedia, Kronenbourg and several government clients.

Born in Tokyo to a Japanese father and English mother, Kobayashi has more than 18 years’ experience in the industry. He started out in media before moving to creative agencies adam&eve/DDB, DLKW Lowe, and The Brooklyn Brothers, working with clients including Halifax, Volkswagen, Jaguar Land Rover and Unilever.

Kobayashi said: “I’m delighted to be joining an amazing team with a hugely diverse set of minds at what is a critical juncture for Engine. I don’t need to point out that the industry is operating in hugely uncertain and disruptive times. This is where creative agencies, like Engine, can harness the power of diversity and creativity to help our clients navigate this disruption, future-proof their businesses and connect with consumers to provide positive value, in what is already a remarkably different landscape.”

Ete Davies, Engine Creative CEO, said: “Gen is the long sought after ‘missing piece’ of our leadership team, he’s an exceptional brand strategist and a progressive thinker. He shares all the values we’re looking for as we build the modern creative agency here at ENGINE, and our belief in the role brand and brand purpose can play in driving innovation and growth for businesses. Plus, he’s got a proven track record in building and leading world-class integrated strategy teams. I’m excited to have him join us on our journey.”

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.