agencyfaqs! news bureau
Putting an end to months of speculation, WPP has appointed Andre Nair as CEO of MindShare India and South Asia. Nair will lead the group's media specialist companies — MindShare and Maximize — in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Nair will be based in Mumbai, and is expected to take up his new role from mid-October. He is leading the setting up of the company, with offices planned in Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, Banglaore, Karachi, Colombo and Dhaka. MindShare has a third unit in the Asia Pacific region called Motivator. Motivator is a strategic alliance with the Euro RSCG group, where a separate dedicated unit was set up by MindShare to handle media for all the Euro RSCG clients in the Asia Pacific region. However, details of its structure and reporting hierarchy in India are yet to be worked out.
Andre is a British national, and has had extensive experience in the media
industry and the WPP group. He has spent close to 16 years with Ogilvy & Mather (1982-1997) in its offices in Singapore, New York, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, and was president Ogilvy Media Network for Asia Pacific during 1995-97. He joined the MindShare group at its inception and was the CEO for Maximize Asia Pacific in 1999. He had left subsequently and was managing director for Starcom Greater China in 2000. He has now rejoined the MindShare group in Hong Kong and will be shortly relocating to Mumbai to take up his new assignment.
With global billings in excess of $19 billion, MindShare has 70 offices in 51 countries throughout the USA, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific. Part of the WPP Group, one of the world's largest communications services companies, MindShare was launched in Asia Pacific in 1997 on the merger of the media departments of J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather.
However, in India, MindShare is a fairly recent development. Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP Group Plc, was in Mumbai to address the advertising fraternity in April this year. Among other things, he had laid the foundation of MindShare in the country. MindShare was appointed to play a key facilitating role alongside HLL's brand teams and creative advertising agencies for HLL's new Communication Channel Planning Process. This process aimed at establishing the most effective combination of marketing vehicles for its brands.
Prior to the consolidation, HLL's strategic media planning assignment was split between different agencies. The Agency of Record responsibility for traditional media buying was handled by HTA's Fulcrum, while outdoor and rural media was handled by Ogilvy & Mather — both of which are WPP group companies.
Nonetheless, what is interesting is that, since the time MindShare was flagged off in the country, there have been numerous conjectures as to who would don the mantle of the India chief. Things looked so uncertain from the outside that even Ketaki Gupte's (the then senior vice-president and executive media director of HTA), departure from HTA in April was ascribed to "a power struggle" within HTA for "the hot seat". At another point, Ambika Srivastava, who quit Discovery Communications some months back, was rumoured to be taking charge at MindShare.
Last evening all that speculation was put to rest when an "internal announcement" in HTA, Mumbai, declared Nair as MindShare's India and South Asia chief.
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