Ashoke Bijapurkar, former group president, Rediffusion DY&R, is no more. He passed away on Wednesday, February 11 from a cardiac arrest. Bijapurkar was in his 60s and is survived by his wife, Rama Bijapurkar and daughter.
His friends and colleagues remember him as a fine gentleman, one who always upheld his values and had a great sense of humour. Born on August 15, Bijapurkar did his schooling from Hazaribagh before moving to Kolkata's St Xavier's College for his graduation. He finished his MBA from XLRI and went on to pursue a doctorate fellowship in marketing from IIM-Ahmedabad.
"Apart from being a good student, he was a good sportsman. He was a wonderful human being. You do not get many of that make, you know. He was popular among people from all walks of life," remembers his batch mate from IIM-A, Arvind Gupta.
Bijapurkar joined Rediffusion in 1982. He quit in May 1999 as the group president.
Diwan Arun Nanda, managing director, Rediffusion Holdings, remembers him as an outstanding individual. "I knew him for over 25 years. He was extremely professional. And this is a great loss to the industry."
Sam Balsara, chairman and managing director, Madison World, had the opportunity to work with Bijapurkar on Cadbury's, when it was handled by Chaitra (now known as Leo Burnett). "I have known him for a very long time and this is very unfortunate. He was such a fine gentleman, gentle to the core. It is indeed shocking to hear this. I am fortunate that I got to meet him just 10 days ago at my daughter's wedding," says Balsara.
While at Rediffusion, he also became friends with Ogilvy's Piyush Pandey. Pandey fondly remembers him as someone who has always wanted the best for the industry. "He was a dear friend. I am shocked and saddened. He was a thorough professional and brought Rediffusion to such heights because of his hard work. Even after he left the agency, he continued to want the best for the agency. Therefore, I know he was agency neutral. It's certainly a loss for this industry," says Pandey.
Bijapurkar went on to set up his own advisory services along with partner Subhas Chakravarty. Future Step Advisory Services was set up in 2003. His erstwhile partner, Subhas Chakravarty, remembers him as a noble soul.
"Of the many people I had met in the corporate life, Ashoke was one of the most noble. He had a great sense of values and was extremely well in conduct. He would never take any shortcut for personal or professional gain. An avid reader, Ashoke was interested in history and had an enviable collection of books. Winning a debate was never more important for him than making a point which he felt was correct. A lot of people can become successful in the corporate world, they can achieve success and fame, but no one can clone Ashoke's values, his soul," says Chakravarty.