Vikram Sakhuja, ex-STAR TV, ex- Coca-Cola India, has joined MindShare Fulcrum South Asia, as managing director. In his new role Sakhuja would oversee all Unilever businesses in the countries of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, in addition to handling all the Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) businesses in India.
It may be recalled that in September last year, WPP had appointed Andre Nair as CEO of MindShare India and South Asia, thus putting an end to months of speculation on who be at the helm of Indian's largest media planning and buying outfit. Currently, Nair leads all three of the group's media specialist companies - MindShare India, MindShare Fulcrum SA and Maximize - in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. As things stand now, while MindShare India will be responsible for all non-Lever businesses group in India, MindShare Fulcrum would look after all Lever businesses in the South Asia region. Under Maximize would be consolidated all media businesses of O&M and Contract. For the record, HTA veteran Ashutosh Srivastava would head MindShare India as managing director.
Sakhuja joins MindShare from STAR TV where he was executive vice-president (marketing) till end-December 2001. At STAR TV he was responsible for the channel's marketing activities along with News Television's radio and dotcom initiative, StarI.com. However, in just about a year's time Sakhuja decided to move on. "At STAR my brief was to create a marketing department - which I did. Thereafter one realised that the scope of the job would be somewhat limited than what one had hoped. So Peter (Peter Mukerjea, CEO, STAR India) and I reached a mutual understanding that since it was not commensurate with the role I had envisaged for myself I would move on," Sakhuja said.
Sakhuja brings to the table around 14 years of marketing experience in companies like Procter & Gamble (P&G), Coca-Cola India and STAR. He is confident his earlier stints at "both the client and media side," as he puts it, would stand him in good stead in his new role. "I have a certain understanding of brands, planning efficiency and effectiveness, as well as developing brand marketing strategies. At P&G, I was involved in the areas of market research and media. In Coca-Cola India, I looked into the areas of research, media and brand marketing. On the other hand, STAR primarily gave me the client insight. I guess all gives me a better overall perspective."
However, Sakhuja was not ready to speak about his agenda or the plans of MindShare Fulcrum SA for India. "All I would say at this point in time is that this gives me a fantastic opportunity to influence an entire range of Lever businesses - which I had always admired - across a diverse market."
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