Publicis Worldwide, the largest global network within the Publicis Groupe (a French MNC focused on advertising and communications), has announced a new leadership team for South Asia and India. Bobby Pawar, former chief creative officer (CCO) at JWT, has been appointed director and CCO for South Asia; Partha Sinha, managing partner at Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) India, will be director and chief strategy officer for South Asia and Ambika Srivastava, former CEO of ZenithOptimedia, has been appointed director, marketing and new business, in India.

The trio will also join the management board of Publicis India and will report to Nakul Chopra, CEO (South Asia) at Publicis.

Commenting on the hiring, Jean-Yves Naouri, COO of Publicis Groupe and executive chairman of Publicis Worldwide, said, “India is central to the future success of our key clients and to our own success. We are committed to making the required investments in this critical market, whether organic or through acquisitions. Following the recent acquisitions of iStrat and MarketGate, these hires confirm our ambitions to invest in top talent.”

Prior to joining Publicis, Pawar was CCO and managing partner (India) at JWT, a position he had to leave post a controversy over a few Ford Figo ads made by the agency. Earlier, he had worked for companies such as Ogilvy & Mather (New York), DDB Mudra Group and Energy BBDO.

Interestingly, this is Sinha’s second stint at Publicis. He had worked here as chief strategy officer for South-east Asia during 2003-2008. Besides BBH, he had also worked for several other companies such as Zee Telefilms, Citibank and Ogilvy & Mather. He holds a B.Tech degree from IIT Kharagpur and a PGDM from IIM Ahmedabad.

Srivastava earlier worked with Strategic Mediaworks, Discovery Channel, McCann Erickson, Lintas and JWT, among others. She holds a PG diploma in Mass Communication from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi.

Commenting on their hiring, Pawar and Sinha said, “We have wanted to work together as a team for some time now. Publicis has provided us the platform to do so. Brand communication in today’s world has changed substantially – thinking and creativity need to be more concurrent and seamless – and we want to approach it that way. Being involved from the root of the problem to the final delivery of the solution is the best way to add value to a brand.”

Publicis Groupe’s services include digital media (DigitasLBi, Razorfish, Rosetta and VivaKi), creative services (BBH, Leo Burnett, Publicis Worldwide and Saatchi & Saatchi), public affairs, corporate communications & events (MSL GROUP), media strategy, planning and buying (Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia) and healthcare communications (Publicis Healthcare Communications Group). The group is currently present in 108 countries and employs 58,000 professionals.

India play

The goal of Publicis is to double its size in India by 2015 and it has been acquiring a number of companies in the country for that purpose. Only last month, it acquired Bangalore-based technology services provider Neev Information Technologies Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed amount. In March this year, it also acquired the digital marketing agency and consulting firm Convonix Systems Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed amount.

In December 2012, Publicis completed two more acquisitions in India, snapping up iStrat, a digital media agency, and MarketGate Consulting Pvt Ltd, a brand and business consulting firm, for undisclosed sums. Earlier in August, it acquired Mumbai-based digital marketing startup Resultrix Media Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed amount. Prior to that (April 2012), the group also acquired another Mumbai-based full-service digital agency called Indigo Consulting for an undisclosed amount.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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