R Balki has quit Mullen Lowe Lintas Group as chairman in order to focus on his movie-making career. As a film maker, Balki first released 'Cheeni Kum' in the year 2007, and then went on to make movies like 'Paa','Shamitabh', and recently released 'Ki & Ka', while successfully managing a parallel career in advertising.
The majority of Balki's advertising years have been spent at the Mullen Lowe Lintas Group, India, where he was chairman. He joined the agency's (then known as Lintas) Bengaluru office in 1994.
Speaking of his decision, Balki says in a press release, "We have been planning this for some time now. It's been a long process of succession planning that concludes with my move. The agency is at its strongest today and I leave feeling satisfied, proud, and excited. We have a fine leader in Joe and two world-class creative champions in Amer and Arun. The agency has given me more than 22 years' worth in opportunities, growth, values, and most of all, some friends for life."
Alex Leikikh, global chief executive officer, Mullen Lowe Group, says in a press release, "Balki has been the architect of the stellar agency we have in India today. He leaves behind an operation that's successful and future-ready, a leadership team that's perhaps the strongest of any agency in India, and a culture that he shaped along the way while himself leading by example. While we will miss his infectiously passionate presence, we wish him even greater success as a film-maker."
Balki started his career in Mudra, before moving on to Lintas, a place that he went on to make his home for over two decades. While with the agency, he has been the brain behind several globally acclaimed campaigns and brand ideas. Under his leadership, the Mullen Lowe Lintas Group has consistently retained its spot as one of India's top agencies and a training ground for some of the best advertising minds of the industry.
Joseph George, group chief executive officer, Mullen Lowe Lintas Group, who worked closely with Balki through all of the 22 years, says in a press release, "It is impossible and even foolish to try and replace someone like Balki; so, we planned the transition differently. As early as July 2015, we put in place a management structure that will help us move forward as an organisation, while also maximising the potential and aspirations of the great individuals we have."
He adds, "Balki and I have tried to think this through every step of the way, and it's reached a place where we feel the agency is ready for today, and tomorrow."
Balki concludes, "There is no bigger happiness than to see a thought actually work the way you had fantasised. Lowe was a thought I am proud of. Ok...next!"