Umesh Shrikhande takes over as CEO, Contract India

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | July 25, 2008
Shrikhande takes over from Jagdip Bakshi who, in turn, will move on to JWT London. Shrikhande has worked for more than 10 years at Contract


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."

Umesh Shrikhande
Shrikhande has spent more than a decade at Contract. He started off with Lintas (now Lowe) where he spent six years. Then he joined Contract for a longish spell of nine years. He quit to join Euro RSCG and consequently Lemon, post which he moved back to Contract (in 2005).

"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.

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