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2023: Top executive movements in Indian adland

A look at CXOs who moved in and out ad agencies, got new roles, and set up new businesses.

By  Storyboard18Dec 6, 2023 10:47 AM
2023: Top executive movements in Indian adland
Creative agencies made a few headlines too. Ajay Gahlaut moved out of Dentsu. Bobby Pawar quit advertising. Russell Barrett picked up a new role at TBWA/India. Dheeraj Sinha quit Leo Burnett to join FCB India. (Representative Image: Ryoji Iwata via Unsplash)

2023 was a year of several changes in Indian ad business. We saw top media agencies like Havas Media Group and Wavemaker India bringing in new talent and giving additional roles to old timers. It was also a year when Dentsu India, which was going through people turmoil since 2021, saw a few exits and new entries.

Creative agencies made a few headlines too. Piyush Pandey took up an advisory role at Ogilvy India. Ajay Gahlaut moved out of Dentsu. Bobby Pawar quit advertising. Russell Barrett picked up a new role at TBWA/India. Dheeraj Sinha quit Leo Burnett to join FCB India.

Here’s a recap.

January

Rayomand Patell

Schbang appointed Rayomand Patell as the chief creative officer and chief integration officer.

Pallavi Chakravarti

Pallavi Chakravarti moved on from DDB Mudra Group where she worked as the creative head - west. She teamed up with Nishant Saurabh, Anand Murty (who were also at DDB Mudra) and launched a new ad agency, Fundamental, in March 2023.

T. Gangadhar

Brand and communications group Quotient Ventures appointed T. Gangadhar as the group chief executive officer and co-founder. Gangadhar is jointly leading and managing the firm along with Shriram Iyer and Rajiv Chatterjee.

Sapna Arora

Dentsu India appointed Sapna Arora as the chief client officer. Prior to this, Arora was with OLX India as CMO, PRO, brand head - emerging markets.

February

Parixit Bhattacharya

Parixit Bhattacharya joined BBH India as the chief creative officer. Prior to this, he was with TBWA\India.

Ajay Gahlaut

Ajay Gahlaut, who was the chief creative officer at Dentsu Creative India, a global creative network and a part of Dentsu Group, quit in February.

Vivek Das

Vivek Das, who was previously the vice president at WPP’s Mindshare, joined Zoo Media’s FoxyMoron, as CEO.

George Kovoor

GroupM-owned Wavemaker India appointed its first chief creative officer. George Kovoor from Ogilvy India took up this role.

Russell Barrett

TBWA/India roped in Russell Barrett as the chief creative experience officer, a role that’s fairly new in the adland. Prior to this, Barrett was with BBH India.

March

Ram Jayaraman

Mullen Lintas, a part of MullenLowe Lintas Group, hired Ram Jayaraman as chief creative officer.

Tarun Jha

Tarun Jha was appointed as chief executive officer of Havas Group’s Havas Creative India, which includes agencies Havas Worldwide India (Mumbai/Gurgaon/Bangalore), Havas CX (Customer Experience), Conran Design Group Mumbai (Branding & Design) and Havas QED (Kolkata). Jha was Skoda Auto India’s chief marketing officer before taking up the role at Havas.

Harsha Razdan

Harsha Razdan became the chief executive officer of Dentsu, South Asia. He has worked with companies like PepsiCo, Hindustan Unilever and Accenture.

Anita Kotwani, Divya Karani

Dentsu promoted Anita Kotwani to CEO Media, South Asia. Divya Karani moved on from the agency. Kotwani was the CEO of Carat India, a position she has held since 2020. Karani transitioned off the media business to pursue personal interests.

April

Amitesh Rao, Abhinav Tripathi, Sambit Mohanty and Souvik Datta

McCann Worldgroup restructured its leadership team in April this year.

Amitesh Rao was promoted to the role of executive director for the north and west regions.

Abhinav Tripathi became creative head - digital.

Sambit Mohanty and Souvik Datta were asked to handle the creative responsibilities of the agency’s Delhi branch.

May

Prerna Mehrotra

Dentsu appointed Prerna Mehrotra as chief client officer for the APAC region, which expanded her current orbit as chief executive officer, media, APAC.

June

Vijay Jacob

Wunderman Thompson promoted Vijay Jacob as managing partner - East and South.

Sindhuja Rai

GroupM’s Wavemaker appointed Sindhuja Rai as chief executive officer - Asia Pacific. Rai has worked across Madison World, IPG Mediabrands, Starcom Mediavest Group, Havas and MindShare.

Roopam Garg

Roopam Garg moved on from his role as CEO at Dentsu X. Garg has more than two decades of experience and has worked across Rediffusion Y&R, GroupM and Publicis Groupe.

Sandipan Bhattacharyya

Sandipan Bhattacharyya was promoted as chief creative officer at Grey Group.

Adarsh Atal

Tilt Brand Solutions elevated Adarsh Atal as chief creative officer at Tilt Brand Solutions. Atal has been with Tilt Brand Solutions since 2019.

July

Jose Leon

Dentsu X hired Jose Leon on board as chief executive officer. He has an experience of more than two decades and has worked across Onida, Ricoh India, Xerox, Adobe and Publicis Groupe.

Surjo Dutt

Dentsu Creative India appointed Surjo Dutt as chief creative officer - West and South.

Shekhar Banerjee

Shekhar Banerjee, chief client officer and office Head – West, got the additional responsibility of managing North and East for Wavemaker India. Banerjee joined Wavemaker in 2018 to lead operations for the West region and has built strong businesses and teams for the agency.

Premjeet Sodhi

Premjeet Sodhi took the role of global head of measurement and analytics at Wavemaker. He was the chief strategy officer at Wavemaker India.

August

Kundan Joshee

Havas Worldwide India, the creative arm of Havas India, appointed Kundan Joshee as managing partner and head – West and South.

Bobby Pawar Bobby Pawar stepped down as chairman and chief creative officer from Havas India, and bid goodbye to advertising. Pawar has worked across Ogilvy & Mather, DDB Mudra Group, JWT and Publicis Worldwide.

September

Piyush Pandey, Hephzibah Pathak, VR Rajesh

Piyush Pandey, who was Ogilvy’s chairman global creative and executive chairman India, transitioned to an advisory position at the legendary creative network, handing over the reins of Ogilvy to the next line of leadership.

Under the transition, Ogilvy veteran Hephzibah Pathak became executive chairperson of Ogilvy India, and VR Rajesh moved from his current role as group president of Ogilvy India to chief executive officer (CEO) of the agency. The agency's three CCOs – Rajadhyaksha, Karmakar and Nayak – and chief strategy officer Prem Narayan joined the Ogilvy Board.

Dheeraj Sinha Dheeraj Sinha quit Leo Burnett, Publicis Groupe. Sinha was chief of Leo Burnett South Asia and Chairman, BBH India. He joined FCB Group as chief executive officer. Storyboard18 was the first to report Sinha's move to FCB.

November

Sagar Kapoor

Sagar Kapoor quit Lowe Lintas as chief creative officer. Kapoor has spent over 19 years with Lowe Lintas serving various local, regional and global mandates. Storyboard18 was the first to report about this development.

Aditya Kanthy

Aditya Kanthy became the chief executive officer of Omnicom Advertising Services group in India. His mandate will be to oversee the creative agency group.

December

Rajdeepak Das

Rajdeepak Das has been elevated to the role of chief creative officer, Publicis Groupe South Asia and chairman - Leo Burnett, South Asia. Storyboard18 was the first to report this.

Aalap Desai

Aalap Desai, former chief creative officer of Dentsu Creative West and Dentsu Creative Experience India, launched a full-funnel ad agency, TGTHR (Together).

First Published on Dec 5, 2023 10:34 AM
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