Manish Porwal acquires controlling stake in Alchemist

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 18, 2010
Porwal moves into new role as MD at the HR and talent solutions firm in which he now holds a majority stake

Manish Porwal, who had quit Percept's talent management company PTM as chief executive officer in January, moves on in a new role as a managing director and promoter of a talent solutions company called Alchemist, where he has picked up a controlling stake.

Alchemist is a 20 month old organisation that has worked closely with service companies such as ING Vysya Life, Heinz, Reliance Big, ZenithOptimedia, Dainik Bhaskar, DNA, Starcom Thailand and Live India to fulfil their talent needs.

& #BANNER1 & #

The firm also runs a vocational course in media planning and sales in partnership with SP Jain Institute of Management Studies and its affiliate, Bhavan's Centre for Inter-Disciplinary Studies (BCIDS).

Alchemist was born with a vision to bridge the gap between a service organisation's talent needs and the availability of it through recruitment, sourcing, training and development, syndication, talent management and education. It now plans to foray into the niche talent management business as well.

Two years ago, Porwal made a move from media agency Starcom India as managing director, to his last role in celebrity management at Percept. He has now decided to explore fresh avenues. One of those includes buying controlling stake in the HR and talent solutions company, Alchemist. He is also a communication advisor on the board of a large infrastructure company.

Discussing the move, Porwal says, "The huge role of people in our industry and the ironic lack of investment in them always boggled me. Where my MNC jobs gave me respect for processes and roles in an organisation, Percept prepared me to relate with the power of individuals, the needs of top end celebrity talent and for thinking like an entrepreneur. Bringing these learnings together, I am determined to make Alchemist the leader in talent solutions in the entertainment, media and communication industry."

He shares that the company will start value-adding in the verticals of MARS (marketing; advertising- creative and media; research; and ad sales). "I believe that the relationships and skills I have developed over the last 15 years will allow me to set a world class company, which shall finally be run by people who work in it and are not just employees but stakeholders. Alchemist will also allow me the width to look at other avenues that I have also wanted to be a part of," he says.

Anujita Jain, founder and chief operating officer, Alchemist, who has headed the company for close to two years now, says, "The team at Alchemist is glad that we now have a leader and strategic driver to give shape to our dreams. We are already excelling in the area of executive search and vocational education and training, and given Manish's ability to incubate and execute big plans, we will be talking bigger scale and scope. I am personally excited because Manish has been my mentor early in life and I look up to him for his integrity, passion and ability to give quality products to his clients."

Jain will continue to be at the helm of affairs, while Porwal will be mentor and chief strategist and also have time to pursue other consulting engagements in an individual capacity.

With Porwal as the MD and an extended new team, the company has also moved to a new office in Prabhadevi, Mumbai and to begin with, will have offices/affiliates in Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Kolkata, Singapore and London.

Porwal was named as one of the Top 10 upcoming media talents in 2003. He was the country's youngest media director at Everest and later, head of sales and marketing at Vijay TV.

After completing MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, he started his career in 1995 in media planning and buying with FCB-Ulka in Mumbai. He then joined Everest in New Delhi and handled account management and new media business acquisitions, along with media planning. Later, he moved to Vijay TV to look after broadcast sales and marketing and subsequently, to BBC World as regional sales manager, West and East.

At Percept, Porwal briefly held an additional portfolio as chief executive officer of Bollywood Corporation. At PTM, he also helped create CelebTrackTM, a research tool to measure celeb power across genres, which is now being widely used by the industry.

At Alchemist, other new appointments have also been announced, with more appointments to be discussed soon. Some of these include Sweta Jhaveri as associate managing consultant and Nidhi Thakkar, Sumita Kevalramani and Jigna Upadhyay as senior consultants.