St Luke's is here to stay: Praveen Kenneth, managing director

By , agencyfaqs! | In | August 13, 2002
Besides Kenneth, the UK-based agency's India subsidiary will be spearheaded by industry veteran Sunil Gautam as director

Well, the saints have not just come marching in, they have actually come charging in. Six days after St Luke's Communications announced it was setting up shop in Mumbai and New Delhi, managing director Praveen Kenneth is ready to talk about the outfit's India plans. "St Luke's is not an ad agency, but a way of life," claims the ex-Publicis CEO who quit the agency for greener pastures earlier this year.

With three offices in London, Stockholm and Paris, and clients such as British Telecom, Clarks Shoes, IPC and IKEA, St Luke's has come a long way since its inception in 1995. It was adjudged the runner-up Agency of the Year in 1996; was the Agency of the Year in 1997 and was shortlisted International Agency of the year in 1998 (Campaign magazine). The business model of co-ownership and risk taking has been the hallmark of this creative hotshop which was co-founded by Andy Law and David Abraham, formerly with Chiat/Day, UK. Incidentally, Abraham partnered Law in the buyout of Chiat/Day from Omnicom leading to the genesis of St Luke's.

The Indian office will have four people on the board of directors. These include, Andy Law who will also be chairman of St Luke's India, Kate Stanners, vice-chairman and creative head, Praveen Kenneth as managing director and Sunil Gautam, founder and managing director of PR agency, Hanmer & Partners, who will be director. "Praveen and I have been talking for some time on various options, one of which included starting our own advertising agency," says the bearded gentleman who founded Clea Advertising in 1985 and Clea PR, a decade later. In fact, it was this spirit of entrepreneurship coupled with a certain adventuresome that got both Gautam and Kenneth chatting up with Law who has been looking to set foot in India for some time now. Their talks started in June this year and a month-and-a-half, later the 'saints' are here with a bang.

"Andy had a vision and so did we. We saw opportunities and so did he. I guess all of this contributed to setting the ball rolling so quickly," states Gautam. Agrees Kenneth, "At St Luke's everything is so dynamic, not boring or monotonous like any other business."

The India outfit has six people and around four clients to begin with. Operating out of Worli in Mumbai, the agency has plans to set up 'creative hubs' - as opposed to mundane office spaces - in Mumbai and Delhi and hopes to "imbibe the St Luke's culture" as time passes by. "The idea is to be relevant to the Indian marketplace and see how we can get together and do something awesome for the client," reiterates Kenneth. Our aim is to be brand-centric and work as a team," adds the advertising professional with 12 years behind him in agencies such as O&M, Mudra and McCann-Erickson.

Declining to comment about its revenue targets, Kenneth instead has a more philosophical take on the subject. "If we can create a platform where the best of minds, both creative and otherwise, can come together, I think profits will follow. It is going to be tough but we will leverage our skills and focus on delivering on every promise. After all, we are here to stay." © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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