EXCLUSIVE: International digital powerhouse R/GA has been quietly entering the Australian market since June, and has appointed experienced staffer Ameer Youssef as its first local head.
The agency, which has won international acclaim and a slew of Cannes Lions for its work with Nike, told B&T at this year’s festival it was launching a local operation by the end of the year.
Since then the details have been patchy, but B&T has learned American Youssef, who has been with R/GA since 2003 as a managing director, has been named as the Sydney office’s managing director.
The agency secured its first local client when it was named on the roster for the revamped Qantas account in June, although it is unclear whether they have yet completed any work with the airline.
Founder Bob Greenberg told B&T at Cannes the agency was also working with one existing global client in the local market, although he declined to confirm who.
He added: “We don’t do any acquisitions we never will. We don’t do any roll ups. We intend to have four people that will grow to six and then 18. We are looking to get the core four. We do have people in mind.
“We are looking to start and grow it into something with scale.”
B&T understands Youssef has been working in Australia for several months and has already entered some pitches.
It is understood the agency already has a small number of staff working locally, although they have not confirmed exactly how many.
The arrival of the agency sparked fears among some rival agencies there could be recruitment problems, with one boss saying: "There’s only so much top talent in Australia and it’s really spread around the agencies, so if one agency comes in with an aggressive recruitment approach it could really hurt a lot of people."
The Sydney office is not yet featured on the main company website.