Two months after incumbent Nikhil Nehru put in his papers, Santosh Desai, executive vice-president and national director for strategic planning and consumer insight, McCann-Erickson India, has been elevated to the position of president at the Rs 62-crore agency (gross income for 2000-2001, according to the 12th A&M Agency Report). With this appointment Desai, who joined the agency in 1991, is formally designated No 2 to Sorab Mistry, area director (South Asia).
Talking to agencyfaqs!, Desai said, "My brief is to take the whole product focus of the agency forward and to see to it that it is consistent across all our clients. The aim will be to ensure the right combination of the depth of our insight and the strength of our creative product. And build a team around this common cause."
Desai, who will turn 40 in January 2003, started his career in advertising when he joined Ulka in 1986. After six years at the agency he moved over to Mudra Communications where he stayed for the next five years to join McCann-Erickson in 1996.
Desai has a tough task ahead of him though. McCann-Erickson's Delhi office has recently lost some large accounts including General Motors, adidas, Gillette and Reckitt Benckiser. In revenue terms, these four accounts translate to a loss of around Rs 9-10 crore, aver agency insiders. However, talking to agencyfaqs! some months ago, Mistry had reiterated these account losses were part of a larger global realignment and had nothing to do with the performance of the agency.
Incidentally, McCann-Erickson has been at the centre of controversy internationally as well, with some accounting discrepancies dating from 1997 to the current year at the agency forced its holding company Interpublic to restate earnings by more than $120 million. © 2002 agencyfaqs!