It was perhaps the worst kept secret of the advertising industry in recent times - that ex-director, Lowe, Preet KS Bedi, was set to join TBWAAnthem. What indeed was the big secret was when he would actually join the Rs 120-crore Omnicom group agency. While Bedi has been fielding all questions on the issue all this while with his characteristic élan, TBWAAnthem and managing director K George John, confirmed the development adding, "Preet has a strong reputation for building businesses and brands. His collaborative, hands-on style and total commitment to client's business is in tune with TBWAAnthem's own working philosophy."
So the situation is like this. Preet Bedi will join the agency on September 2 as president and chief executive officer with "complete operational authority." When asked why Preet was chosen for the job at this juncture, John said, "We can no longer assume that past success alone can give us directions for the future. If the agency culture is to grow more robust, it must be willing to accept and evolve with new management styles and strategies."
agencyfaqs! readers will recall the story we carried on July 16, wherein we stated that Bedi had put in his papers at Lowe and, quoting informed sources, we had said, his most likely destination is TBWAAnthem. Bedi, however, had refuted the idea that time saying he has not firmed up his plans. As it turns out, he is now ready to assume the post that has been lying vacant since Sanjay Nayak (then president and COO at TBWAAnthem) quit the agency to join McCann-Erickson in January 2001.
Bedi will bring to the table about two decades of marketing and advertising experience, and is expected to give the agency its much-needed aggression. And it would be a task best suited for Bedi, who is credited with building the Delhi branch of Lowe from scratch, to what it is today. No wonder the Lowe brass was trying hard to downplay the event. As an agency insider pointed out, "The Lowe brass wants to make sure the boat is not rocked since Bedi is credited with spearheading the agency in its drive for new businesses."
At the Rs 750-crore advertising agency, Bedi was seen as the successor to its current managing director Prem Mehta, who is due to retire in 2004. Last year, the high-profile Bedi was shifted from Delhi to Mumbai to look after the entire non-Lever portfolio of the agency while Pranesh Misra, director, Lowe, took care of the Lever business. But when Bedi quit Lowe two months back, another Lowe veteran Fali Vakeel was given additional charge of the Delhi branch alongside his other responsibilities of the Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata offices.
At the new agency Bedi has his task cut out. The biggest challenge would come later this year when the agency - if industry grapevine is to be believed - is looking to rebrand itself as TBWA and bring about other key organisation changes. John however indicated that the Indian promoters were not looking to sell off their stakes in 'the immediate future'. He said, "This will happen in due course as per the shareholder's agreement that we have entered into with Omnicom. However, we may decide to change the name of the agency from TBWAAnthem to TBWA even before it becomes a 100 per cent subsidiary." Â© 2002 agencyfaqs!