afaqs!

Sandeep Vij to bid adieu to DDB Mudra Group

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | January 09, 2012
DDB India's CEO, and DDB Mudra Group's chief knowledge officer and executive director, is poised for an exit, to pursue his dream in the online media space. He has cumulatively spent 22 years in Mudra.

Sandeep Vij, CEO, DDB India (a vertical of the DDB Mudra Group) is all set to bid farewell to the organisation. The DDB India vertical includes DDB India, Tribal DDB, Rapp India and DDB Health & Lifestyle. Vij was also handling the additional role of chief knowledge officer and executive director at the DDB Mudra Group.

Vij will continue with the group for some time, and after his formal exit, his responsibilities will temporarily fall under DDB Mudra Group's CEO and managing director, Madhukar Kamath's purview, until an individual is identified to oversee the mandate.

Post his exit from the group, Vij will return in full time capacity to the entrepreneurial venture he co-founded in 1999 along with Sreekant Khandekar - Banyan Netfaqs! Private Limited (BNPL), which is the parent company that owns and manages afaqs! and The Mobile Indian. He plans to help usher BNPL into its next phase of growth in the online media space.

Vij has cumulatively spent around 22 years at Mudra, in various capacities. Commenting on his decision to move on, Madhukar Kamath tells afaqs!, "Sandeep's decision is not so much about moving on from Mudra as much as it is about following his dream once again. It happened a few years ago, when he exited Mudra to set up BNPL, and it is heartening to see that he shall go back to his baby."

Kamath adds that Vij has played a pivotal role in Mudra's growth story. "I remember roping him into the system in 1988, and he has worked across the spectrum, starting as a media planner, then moving on to be an account planner, a creative planner, and much more," Kamath recalls. Furthermore, he credits Vij with handling the crucial task of partnering Kamath to transform Mudra from an ad agency to a marketing communications group, a while ago.

Madhukar Kamath

Having worked with Vij for several years, Kamath states that he shall definitely miss Vij's passion for the business. "He has never said 'No' to any assignment, is a compassionate soul and an extremely trustworthy person," Kamath says.

On his decision to move on, Vij states, "I had left Mudra 12 years ago to get afaqs! on the road. I will be leaving Mudra again to help chart out and reach the next phase for Banyan Netfaqs." He says that just as The Mobile Indian caters to the needs of 1.1 million mobile phone users, the company is well placed to create several large online communities for which it is in the process of raising funds.

On his tenure at Mudra, Vij remarks that the company has, in the last decade, grown in size, competency and stature, and it has been a "rewarding journey". "Now that Mudra is an Omnicom/DDB company, a new book is being written, and this is an appropriate and opportune moment for me to hop off this gigantic global ship and move on to an entrepreneurial magic bus," Vij says. "I have always enjoyed being in the build/grow phase where you roll up your sleeves and get your elbows and knees dirty. And I am back to do just that." He adds here that Mudra is and will always be special for him, and he hopes to cheer the group from the sidelines as it "grows more influential".

Vij started his advertising career in 1984 with Bates 141 (then Clarion). In 1988, he joined Mudra Delhi as manager, strategy planning and development. He has worked on a number of brands in India for companies such as Nestlé, Mobil, McDonald's, Dabur, Frito Lays, Samsung, HM and Reckitt Benckiser.

In 1991, Vij started Mudra Diversified - Direct Response and set up branches in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. In 1994, he was brought back to mainline advertising at Mudra Delhi and subsequently became head of the agency's Delhi operations. In 2000, he took a brief break from advertising to pursue an entrepreneurial dream, afaqs! (earlier agencyfaqs!).

In 2002, Vij joined the Mudra Group once again to look after Optimum Media Solutions as its president. In 2009, Vij was made chief executive officer, DDB Mudra, and chief knowledge officer, Mudra Group.

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