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Saatchi's Ashutosh Karkhanis joins Open Strategy and Design

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | December 17, 2013
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He will be part of the firm's managing board.

Ashutosh Karkhanis, former executive creative director and Mumbai head, Saatchi & Saatchi, has moved to Open Strategy and Design as partner and creative head. He, along with the agency's founding directors Rahul Kaloti and Mangesh Rane, and three other partners, will be part of the firm's managing board.

Ashutosh Karkhanis

Karkhanis' mandate includes being responsible not just for the agency's creative output but also the overall direction it takes. He will be involved with all the businesses and projects that Open manages. Incorporated in April 2011, the core team at Open includes strategists, designers and technologists.

Before joining Saatchi, Karkhanis worked as creative director with Ray+Keshavan | The Brand Union, leading design conglomerate and brand consultancy. About his move to Open, Karkhanis tells afaqs!, "It seemed like an interesting way of looking at brand building. My move is not about design or advertising. It is about moving towards doing more substantial work. I believe Open might be quietly building the next big idea in the business."

Kaloti says about the development, "Open likes to see itself more as a venture capitalist company, than an advertising or design agency. The thought that we are infusing in our brands is actually seed capital that is helping businesses fast track growth. With such an approach, we needed a very different kind of a creative leader. Ashu (Karkhanis), with his tireless drive and wide exposure, was the perfect choice." He adds that some of Open's clients are exploring a stake-based remuneration model.

Karkhanis has more than two decades of industry experience. He started his career as an illustrator at Lintas Bengaluru in 1993. Agencies he has worked with since include Enterprise, Euro RCSG, Thompson Kenya (JWT's Kenya outfit), Ambience, Grey, Quadrant Communications, Contract Advertising and Rediffusion-Y&R.

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