#Throwback2020: Rejigs in the Indian marketing world

Some prominent names moved on to explore newer domains.


NEW DELHI: Change is the only constant, and 2020 was a year of change. Big ones.On personal and professional fronts, both. Folkspicked up new skills, explored previously untried things, made self-discoveries. The trend reflected in the way people moved across industries, looking for fresh challenges and opportunities – looking for change. The marketing and advertising industry was also no stranger to this. There were a number of movements within agencies, some also chose alternate industries to grow, and many others were promoted to new roles. Here is part one of an intensive overview of how the year fared for the marketing and advertising world in terms of people movements, appointments, and elevations: 

The year started with WatConsult founder Rajiv Dingra vacating the CEO chair and taking up an advisory role in the agency from the house of dentsu International (earlier Dentsu Aegis Network). He was replaced by Heeru Dingra. Rajeev went on to launch a new venture, RD&X Network, later in the year. 

Next, Cheil India social media strategist Abhishek Mudgal exited from the agency to join Cars24 as brand manager -digital. Erstwhile CCO south-east and south Asia and VC - India at Ogilvy Sonal Dabral moved on from the creative powerhouse after a two-and-half-year stint to start his journey as an independent creative consultant. 

Sonal Dabral

Another big exit from the agency world came whenHavas Media India and SEACEO Anita Nayyar ended her 13-year-long journey with the agency. She later joined Zee5 as head - customer strategy and relationships. Following her exit, Mohit Joshi was elevated to the India leadership role. 

Anita Nayyar

The next big transition was made by Anita Kotwani. She left the post of SVP - new business and client lead, The Walt Disney Business at Mindshare India, ending a 16-year-long relationship with the agency, and headed to Carat India as its CEO. 

Anita Kotwani

Most recently, Nabendu Bhattacharyya, an industry veteran with more than two decades of experience in the Indian out-of-home (OOH) space, stepped down as CEO and MD of Milestone Brandcom, the India-based OOH specialist agency from the house of dentsu international. He is moving on to follow his personal interests after spending six years with the network. 

Another exit from dentsu International came earlier in the year with Isobar India’s chief growth officer Shekhar Mhaskar departing the company. Also, Dentsu India CCO Malvika Mehra bid adieu to the network to begin afresh as an independent creative director and brand consultant.  

Malvika Mehra

Dentsu roped in Rohit Mukherjee as creative director, south for Isobar India. Prior to this, Mukherjee was associate creative director with Bates India. 

A slew of exits happened at Publicis Worldwide India too. Managing director for the company’s India operations including Publicis Ambience, Publicis Capital, Publicis Beehive, Publicis Health and Publicis Business Srija Chatterjee left as the group dissolved the position. CCO and MD Ajay Gahlout also stepped down from his position to pursue personal interests. Chief strategy officer and managing partner Neeraj Bassi also called it quits in 2020. He went on to join Havas Group India as the chief strategy officer. 

Neeraj Bassi

On the other hand, Publicis announced the appointment of Sanju Menon as chief operating officer of Publicis Ambience and Publicis Beehive. He joined from Leo Burnett India, where his last role was as executive vice president managing the entire Bajaj portfolio for the agency. The group also roped in Deepak Pant as head, data science practice, from Cognizant where he worked as the director AI & analytics of the digital business.

GroupM, South Asia COO and CFO Sridhar Ramasubramanian on boarded as the CFO for Publicis Groupe, South Asia. The group appointed Mimi Deb to lead its dedicated bespoke unit platformGSK. 

Simultaneously, Rachana Lokhande, co-chief executive officer (CEO) of GroupM-owned outdoor agencyKinetic India, chose to resign from her position. She was replaced by Ajay Mehta who took on the additional charge as MD - Kinetic along with the post of managing director of cinema (ITV). Mehta also joined the GroupM India executive committee (ExCo).

Wavemakar also found its South Asia CEO in Ajay Gupte, who was earlier the COO for Wavemaker India, after Kartik Sharma moved on to join Omnicom Media Group as Chief Executive for India operations,

Ajay Gupte

In another internal rejig within the GroupM network, Mindshare Fulcrum SVP Premjeet Sodhi joined Wavemaker India as chief growth officer. He was soon elevated to the post of chief strategy officer. Mindshare chief innovation officer - South Asia Mac Machaiah was appointed as the lead of Wavemaker unit for ITC business. Vishal Jacob returned to Wavemaker India as chief digital officer, after close to two years with GroupM as a principal consultant – change planning and transformation. Additionally, Sandeep Pandey, who led product and strategy, was elevated as Wavemaker’s global head of analytics.

Additionally, Mirum India brought on board former 82.5 Communications SVP Mohit Ahuja as the director of brand strategy and client services. 

To be continued… 

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