Former Omnicom Vice Chairman Birkin Joins Hakuhodo

Hakuhodo DY Holdings, the second-largest advertising and marketing services holding company in Japan behind Dentsu, has acquired two U.S. firms—business consultant SYPartners and marketing and branding specialist Red Peak Group.

The acquisitions will become part of a new division that Hakuhodo has formed called kyu and the firm has hired former Omnicom Group Vice Chairman Michael Birkin to run it. Birkin is also the founder of Red Peak Group.

Birkin is tasked with expanding the new kyu unit largely through additional acquisitions of specialty services firms in North America, Europe and Asia.

“Digitalization and globalization have made marketing as a profession more complex and sophisticated, spurring innovation in both methods and approaches,” the company stated. “To respond to these changes, the Hakuhodo DY Group has put forward, as a key driver of growth in its new Medium-Term Business Plan, the acquisition of leading service companies that offer advanced marketing methods and solutions.”

Birkin joins the company July 1 and will also assume the position of Senior Executive Corporate Officer of the parent company. A U.K. native, Birkin  became CEO of Interbrand Group in 1986, a position he retained until the sale of the company to Omnicom in 1993. He was President of DAS Worldwide from 1999 until 2005 and was then named Omnicom Group Vice Chairman and CEO Asia Pacific from 2005 until 2009. He left Omnicom in 2009 to establish Red Peak Group.

Red Peak Group has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, London, Rio de Janeiro and Taipei, and operates through the brands Red Peak Branding and RPMC. Red Peak Branding offers expertise in the areas of design and branding, brand strategy development; research; and naming, packaging and advertising production. RPMC offers a range of advanced experiential services in the world of sports and music.

Established in 1994, SYPartners has offices in San Francisco and New York. The firm helps CEOs and senior management with vision and strategy, culture building, and customer experiences. Clients include AARP, American Express, Bloomberg, eBay, General Electric, IBM, Starbucks, and Coca-Cola Co.

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