Vijay Verma has moved over from Mudra Communications, Mumbai, to the Mumbai-based Everest Integrated Communications, where he will be chief operating officer (COO). "I look forward to this extremely challenging and exciting assignment," he told agencyfaqs! As COO, he plans to follow "an aggressive path, and strive for quality in strategic planning". Denying that the frequent changes in management at Everest reflected instability, Shabnam Panjwani, vice-president, Everest, Mumbai, said that it was a reflection of the company's attempt to "take in the best" in the industry.
Right now, Everest has several prestigious brands in its portfolio - mango drink Frooti and Bailey mineral water accounts (Parle Agro), National Panasonic white goods (washing machine, microwave oven, cellphones, fax), Bagpiper Whisky, Honda Siel (cars), Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (two-wheelers), Emirates (airline), and Parle G biscuits. Industry observers say that Everest has traditionally focused on building long-standing relationships with clients. Interestingly, Everest has held the Parle G account since 1946, the same year that both companies started. "And our creative product is constantly improving," says Panjwani.
Verma began his career as a management trainee at Rediff, in 1982. In 1990 moved over to Ambience, which he left eight years later as senior vice-president. In a career that spans nearly 20 years, Verma feels his greatest achievement has been training a new generation of advertising professionals, professionals "who are not afraid to stand up for what they feel is right," as he says.
So what will be his brief at the new agency? The industry is in the grips of a slowdown and the agency has gone through a couple of top-level changes in the last one year. So will the priority be riding the recession with the least amount of bruises, or bestowing a sense of stability to the agency? As the agency brass sees it, both these tasks are inextricable. However, they are quick to point out that Ram Sehgal, who joined the agency in October last year continues to be a member of the board in his capacity as managing director. Thus the possibility of instability is ruled out. On the other hand, while the advertising world is working overtime to mitigate the effects of the recession, Everest has continued expanding. It recently opened an office in Bangalore, and the creative wing in Mumbai, which had strength of eight in November, has grown to 20 now. The agency is in talks for some major accounts, according to industry sources.
Verma in optimistic indeed. "I believe that there is a lot more that can be done. The main thrust will be to sharpen the focus of the agency," he said. In a company that is more than half a century old, and where many of the industry's best have worked, it will undoubtedly be a challenging assignment. Under Vijay, Everest Communications will make an aggressive pitch in the market. "We will be a hungry agency, hungry for accounts," he told agencyfaqs!.
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