He is the man one sees strumming the guitar at various Ad Club functions in Mumbai. He is now headed for Everest Integrated Communications as chief operating officer and is slated to join the agency later this month. "I wanted to head an agency," says 50-year-old Prabhakar Mundkur, confirming the news to agencyfaqs!. Mundkur moves from Euro RSCG where he was director. "I was on the board at Euro, but I wasn't the agency head," admits Mundkur.
Mundkur brings to Everest 25 years of advertising experience, bulk of which was spent in JWT. The last position that he held in JWT India was that of senior vice-president and general manager, Mumbai, in 1992, the year he moved on to JWT East Africa. In 1998, and after a two-year stint at JWT China, he returned to join Euro RSCG as director. Among the brands he has worked on during his various stints in India and abroad are Kellogg, Frito Lay, Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Talking about his mandate at the new agency, Mundkur says, "Everest used be an agency among the Top 5 in the eighties. I guess, it lost out somewhere around the nineties. I am confident we can take the agency forward so that it can reclaim its position back among the Top 10." And how does he hope to join the ranks of the Top 10 agencies? "The clue is to get more business," he says. Interestingly, agencyfaqs! has learnt that Nitin Karkare, vice-president, FCB-Ulka Advertising, was also approached for the position when Everest started scouting for a replacement for Niloufer Kapadia, who quit the agency late last year as chairperson.
For the record, Everest witnessed quite a few senior level movements last year. Besides Kapadia, Ajit Shah, president, moved on after 22 years at the agency. Then creative man Milind Dhaimade - the person behind Frooti's Digen Verma campaign - quit the agency in 2002, ending a nine-year association. So did chief operating officer Vijay Verma, who quit last September, exactly a year after he joined the Mumbai-based agency.
Mundkur is not worried about such issues though. Nor is he going to take the murmur in Mumbai's agency circle that Dentsu is planning to pull out of Everest, seriously. "I know of no such thing," he brushes the suggestion aside, adding, "I have had a long association with WPP agencies - for 15/16 years in four continents. I am quite comfortable with the WPP style of functioning. The agency has great potential and I am quite sure that we can get Everest up there." © 2003 agencyfaqs!