AKQA appoints Tesa Aragones as President, North America
AKQA has appointed Tesa Aragones as President, North America. Tesa will oversee AKQA’s studios in the U.S. in this new role, defining strategy and expanding the agency’s client base.
Additionally, Tesa will identify opportunities and synergies to work closely with AKQA’s international team, which is now present in over 24 markets. As the agency embarks on its next phase of growth, the new position reflects the strength of opportunity for AKQA in the U.S.
Tesa Aragones said: “AKQA is an ambitious, inventive agency with unparalleled capabilities that is always looking towards the future. Synonymous with cutting-edge work and a purpose-led, people-oriented culture, AKQA is a pioneer. I am honoured to take on this role at such an exciting stage for our agency.”
“I look forward to working alongside my exceptionally talented team and our influential client base to fuel the extraordinary potential ahead. Our foremost goals are to inspire audiences with uplifting ideas and initiatives that stand out and to design remarkable experiences driving impact and societal progress for years to come.”
AKQA’s founder and CEO Ajaz Ahmed said: “Tesa’s formidable creative capital, intellectual curiosity and vast wealth of expertise will be instrumental towards helping our people flourish while enabling our clients to achieve their aspirations. Her extensive multicultural, multidisciplinary leadership responsibilities at preeminent brands — spanning categories and geographies — provide a unique perspective for our clients, employees, and industry to benefit from.”
AKQA North America employs around 1,250 people across its seven studios: San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Portland and Miami. As client investment in new technology, digitalisation, intuitive experience design and business optimisation becomes crucial and continues to grow, AKQA plans to double the number of people working at its studios in the U.S. over the next five years.
Prioritising breakthrough work, Tesa Aragones has more than 25 years of brand leadership experience and a proven track record for cultural contribution and celebrated innovation with organisations including Nike, Volkswagen, Apple, XBOX, Bacardi and Universal Studios. Tesa had a ten-year career at Nike, holding director- level marketing roles, including Senior Brand Director Global, Women’s Training. An inventor on 12 patents filed by Nike, Tesa’s assignments included Nike+, NikeID and the Nike+ Training Club.
A champion for diversity, equity and inclusion, Tesa is an accomplished team builder, guiding many new-generation companies through pivotal periods of creativity, collaboration and significant growth. Most recently, Tesa served as Chief Marketing Officer at the biggest gaming social media platform Discord, and CMO at the premium photo and video editing app VSCO. Earlier in her career, she held leadership positions at agency David & Goliath and automotive leader Volkswagen Group of America.
Embodying AKQA’s values with dynamism and thoughtfulness, Tesa’s passion, insight and limitless wisdom will be invaluable to our community. I have long admired her considerable achievements and am now delighted to welcome Tesa to our team officially.
In addition to serving as President, North America at AKQA, Tesa Aragones is on the Board of Directors at banking app Dave (NASDAQ: DAVE) and the Board of Tillys (NYSE: TYLS) a leading speciality retailer of casual apparel, footwear and accessories. She is also an Advisor, Adjunct Speaker at the Stanford Community College, part of the Stanford Design School designed for and by brown and black community members. She is a member of the Advisory Council for the Cranbrook Academy of Art and an Advisor, Adjunct Instructor and Speaker at the College for Creative Studies. A recipient of Ad Age 40 Marketers Under 40 award, and a member of the Forbes CMO and Forbes Communications Council, Tesa has won over 40 international awards, including Cannes Lions, Grand Clios, The One Show, Webby and Effies. Tesa is a contributing writer for AdWeek, AdWeek CMO, and Business Insider CMO.
Tesa Aragones joins AKQA at a time of sustained growth, recognition and notable talent attracted to the agency. Over the last decade, AKQA has more than quadrupled in size. This year AKQA won eight prestigious D&AD Pencils, the Grand Clio Music Award, a coveted Fast Company World Changing Idea Award, three international Red Dot Design Awards and Agency of the Year. AKQA announced in July that Laura Maness joined as Global CEO of Grey. The new agency AKQA Bloom, founded by Fernando Pellizzaro and Jean Zamprogno — Zampa & Zaro — the world’s most-awarded creative directors, was announced in March and is based in Miami.