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Online exclusive: Q & A: Razorfish CEO Lord, chairman Kokich

Bob Lord was named CEO of digital agency Razorfish on Wednesday. He previously held the role of president of the East US region. Former CEO Clark Kokich now serves in the newly created position of chairman. Both spoke to DMNews about their new roles and their plans for the company in the coming year.

How are your responsibilities changing with your new positions?

Kokich: As chairman, I’m going to be giving up the day-to-day operation of the business from a business standpoint and focus more on strategy, client work and innovation, which is the work that I really love and where I can make the biggest contribution.

Lord: My role is going to expand from operation of the East Coast from a strategic and business development standpoint to the global reach of the organization.

What strategy will you take going forward?

Lord: I think Clark has put us on a really great path to being a different kind of agency. So [I see my role as] really a keeper of that promise and making it come to life a bit more throughout our global network. And I think that’s the challenge I’m talking on.

Kokich: That’s one of the reasons we’re doing this now. I really believe that our discipline is taking the vision and turning it into reality in our 20 offices around the world. Bob is really, really good at that, and I think he’s better at it than I am. So we have this huge opportunity in front of us that will require some strong leadership. I’m really confident that he’ll provide it.

What are your goals for the agency?

Lord: My first goal and priority is to get to know the global network. So I’ll be hitting the road and getting out there to listen to our clients. I have a view particularly from the US and what the US clients and Latin American clients are demanding.

Clark Kokich

So my biggest objective is to get out there and listen and talk about how we can deliver upon our clients’ requests.

Kokich: For the last year and a half, we’ve had a very strong focus on integrating and building experiences across the full range of digital touchpoints. So rather than building a single Web site or doing an online campaign, we’re really creating integrated solutions that work across Web sites, mobile, digital out of home, e-mail, online advertising, search, etc.

We have a handful of great examples and success stories from around the world. My goal is to take those and talk to our employees and our clients and to train and inspire and prod them to do more of that kind of work. I believe that’s how we’ll differentiate ourselves: by building experiences that build businesses. We’ve done some of it. We need to do more of it.

Bob Lord

What are some of the challenges you foresee?

Lord: We’re extremely optimistic about our growth potential in the next three to five years as an organization, particularly in the position that we’re in. But clearly there are challenges. But as an organization that is based in digital, we can be much more effective in reaching consumer than traditional advertisers. And I truly believe that’s our advantage. That’s the gospel we need to spread around the world because all countries are at a different level, which is the other challenge. Latin America is in a much different place than the US, and Japan is in a much different spot than the US. So there has to be an understanding of what’s going on in the world.

We need to bring the best practices to bear to bring our agency service offerings up a level. It’s an extremely exciting time. The more we go out and talk to clients and employees, the opportunities are there for us to take. I don’t think they’re getting their answers either from the traditional agencies or from the legacy traditional consultancies.

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