Rediff restructures its Airtel team

By Neha Kalra , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | October 22, 2008
Abhik Santara, Gurbir Singh and KB Rai are looking after the three different verticals of the brand

Rediffusion & #BANNER1 & # Y&R Delhi has reconstituted the team for Airtel, one of its biggest accounts. Three new business heads will lead the three verticals of the brand, mobility, Airtel Enterprise Services (AES) and broadband, and value added services (VAS).

Abhik Santara, who was earlier at JWT, will now look after Airtel's mobility business. Gurbir Singh, who moves in from O&M, will be in charge of AES and broadband services. Karambir Singh Rai, who joined Rediff at the beginning of 2008 as associate vice-president and general manager on LG's GSM and IT services, will now be responsible for Airtel's VAS portfolio. All three will report to Amitesh Rao, national head, Airtel, at Rediff.

Abhik Santara
Santara has more than a decade's experience in the ad industry. He began his career with Percept H and has worked with TBWA, Bates and JWT. His last assignment was at JWT, where he was associate vice-president on the Pepsi account. During his three years at Bates, Santara worked closely on the Nokia account. Other accounts he has worked on include Hero Honda, Adidas, Hughes and JK Tyres.

Rai began his career in 1998 with Draft FCB Ulka (then FCB Ulka) Mumbai as a trainee. He then relocated to the Delhi branch and has stayed in Delhi ever since. He was at the agency till 2003, when he joined Mudra as associate account director. After spending two years at Mudra, he joined Publicis as account director in February 2005. He left there three years later to join Rediff.

KB Rai
Singh is doing his second innings at Rediff. This is also not his first stint with Airtel. He began life in the ad world in 1995, when he joined Mudra's sister agency, Interact Vision, which has now been merged with Mudra. Four years later, he moved to Rediff in 1999. He was looking after brands such as Maruti (Maruti 800 and Zen) and GPI and worked on Airtel too for a year.

TBWA happened to Singh three and a half years later and, while there, he worked on Pedigree. A year later, he joined O&M, where he worked for almost three and a half years on brands such as American Express, Seagram's and DLF Pramerica.

Talking about the appointments, Amitesh Rao says, "Each of the new entrants has a personality fit with the job. Santara has worked hands-on on a brand such as Nokia, and with his experience on big brands such as Pepsi and Nokia, he has experience of the big budget-big brand association. Rai is a huge film buff, so we're looking at some ideas from him on connecting with the youth through VAS. Moreover, he has worked on HP - its process as well as the brand - so that will help as well. For Singh, it's a comeback because he first worked on the Airtel business at Rediff around eight years ago."

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