R/GA has announced the appointment of Kei Shimada to the role of Managing Director. The former associate partner, founding member and leader of the Digital Makers Lab at IBM Tokyo, Shimada will start on April 1.
As the Managing Director, Shimada (pictured) will lead the Tokyo office to drive innovation, human-centric work for the company’s rapidly growing roster of local and international clients. Tapping into R/GA’s deep creativity, tech and design experience expertise, he will closely with other regional leads in support of helping our clients create a more human future.
Shimada’s joining completes a newly-formed Tokyo leadership team that is poised to work with Japanese and global brands, enabling growth both locally and internationally. R/GA Tokyo has experienced exponential growth and success despite being one of the youngest offices in the network, with the recent additions of international and Japanese brands Uber, Suntory and Nike to its client roster.
“It’s exciting to have a respected, inventive, and influential leader like Kei onboard. With an ambition to leverage new technologies to help clients create new solutions for a more human future, coupled with an incredible track record of commercial and creative success, there’s no one else better to be at the helm of R/GA Tokyo,” said Tuomas Peltoniemi, EVP & Managing Director, R/GA Asia Pacific.
Shimada has a long-standing career of helping companies around the globe redefine existing product and service strategies and enhance existing revenue streams or create new ones from the ground up. He was most recently Associate Partner, founding member and leader of Digital Makers Lab., a co-creation lab built within IBM Japan, where he was responsible for both leading the digital transformation of clients and spearheading the creation of world-first, region-first and industry-first focused solutions and business models by fusing technology, creativity and strategy. He has been shortlisted for his work in producing an AI classic concert at Ars Electronica in 2019, and has also recently won the CES 2021 Innovation Award for the world’s first smart assistant called the “Integrated Spatial Assistant Console”.
Prior to joining IBM, he was Global Director of Innovation and Business Development at Dentsu, where he focused on the build out of a Dentsu Aegis groupwide innovation initiative that created new solutions around wearables, neural technology, locational big data, and crisis management infrastructures – going beyond the traditional advertising business to cultivate new business models that generate revenue. He also fulfilled the role of Chief Lab Officer of dXLab, Dentsu media’s innovation lab spanning eight countries in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia. Before his time at Dentsu, Shimada was an entrepreneur who founded and led one of Japan’s first multinational mobile strategy firms.
Shimada said: “I’m excited to be given this opportunity to join R/GA and lead the Tokyo office. To have such an eclectic mix of people working together serving local Japanese and global clients is something very unique to Japan, and gives us a strong competitive advantage. I’m looking forward to further shaping and growing the Tokyo office as we deliver transformative solutions for clients that play at the intersection of bold ambition, creativity, and human truths.”
Shimada is also one of the most sought-after keynote speakers, having taken the stage at events in over 30 countries, and supports Plug and Play in Japan as their official pitch mentor.