Shrikhande has been appointed CEO of Contract India. This development completes the changes in the top management at Contract, which involved the appointment of Ravi Deshpande as chairman and chief creative officer, and Jagdip Bakshi moving into a global role (global business director, Unilever) at JWT London. Shrikhande, thus far Contract's executive vice-president at Mumbai, takes over from Bakshi, who was, till recently, CEO of the agency.
Michael Maedel, president, JWT, says, "Umesh has an unrelenting focus on creating a humane and value-based organisational culture at Contract, and it is clear that his effort has contributed significantly to the recent successes of the agency."
"There is a shared history and commonality of purpose between Ravi and Umesh," says Jagdip Bakshi on Shrikhande's elevation. "He is eminently placed to facilitate Contract's vision." Ravi Deshpande concurs, "I couldn't have found a better partner to take the agency to the next level. There are few people in the industry today who can match his sound strategic sense and openness to possibilities in creativity."
Shrikhande has worked closely with various divisions at Contract in the areas of design, direct and digital to enhance traditional advertising. Combined with a focus on organic and new business growth, this will help lend stability to the agency. Shrikhande's has also worked on the planning and implementation of brand strategies for a variety of clients and brands, such as HSBC, Cadbury, Asian Paints, Shopper's Stop, Philips, VIP, Bajaj Auto, BBC World, Aegon-Religare, Tata Indicom, Disney, Zoom, DNA and Grasim.
Shrikhande has been a visiting faculty member at the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies and the Sydneham Institute of Management. Over the last two years, he has also been part of the Bombay Ad Club management committee and Effie's judging committees. Presently, he is a member of the Consumer Complaints Council of ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India).
For the record, Shrikhande is a graduate in Sociology and Economics from Elphinstone College, Mumbai, and an MBA from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies.