TOKYO — John C. Jay, a former executive at advertising firm Wieden + Kennedy, has been tapped by Fast Retailing to oversee all creative aspects of the retailer’s business.
This story first appeared in the October 8, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The appointment was made by Tadashi Yanai, Fast Retailing’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, at a press conference at the company’s corporate headquarters on Tuesday.
Yanai discussed Fast Retailing as a global brand, and said creativity and innovation are the keys to its growth. His appointment of Jay, he said, demonstrates his commitments to these two ideas.
Jay originally met Yanai when he was heading up the Tokyo office of Wieden + Kennedy, a firm for which he has worked for the majority of his career. His most recent position there was as global executive creative director, partner and trustee from 2003 through 2012. He remained a partner and trustee until this year.
Yanai first hired Wieden + Kennedy in 1999 to help with Uniqlo’s expansion from a small regional Japanese clothing company to a global retailing force. Jay remembered meeting with Yanai in those early days in the rural area of Yamaguchi, before Uniqlo was headquartered in Tokyo.
“I have dreamed of working personally with Mr. Yanai for a long time,” Jay said. “I’ve been thinking about this moment for many years, so to be standing here at this very moment is a very important moment in my life.”
Jay’s title is president of global creative of Fast Retailing, and he will oversee all of the creative aspects of all group brands, including Uniqlo, GU, Theory and J Brand. He said one of the things that most interested him in the position is that it is not limited only to marketing or advertising, but rather is a more all-encompassing creative role, even incorporating such aspects as store architecture and product development.
Yanai said one key to Fast Retailing’s success as a global brand is that it can effectively seek out and nurture young talent from around the world. The executive said that this is one aspect of the business in which he expects Jay will be involved.
“I think that if we can become the catalyst, if we can be the place where young talent looks to grow and to learn and further their skills, hopefully we will be contributing back to society and contributing back to their lives, and also doing something good in terms of our future, as well,” Jay added.