Aniruddha Banerjee, executive director, Leo Burnett India, is set to join Everest Integrated Communications as the Chief Operating Officer.
Confirming the development, Banerjee said he would be joining Everest on November 1, 2004.
After having spent six years at Leo Burnett, along came an interesting offer from Everest and that made Banerjee ponder over the future - he envisaged for himself. It was a chance worth taking, Banerjee decided. "I am 38, I can still afford to take a risk. It was a great offer and with it, was the opportunity to work with like-minded people. Now Mahesh Chauhan, president, Everest, is a very dear friend and I am looking forward to working with him," says a happy Banerjee.
The mandate, as given by Diwan Arun Nanda, chairman, Rediffusion | DYR, is to make Everest a special agency. "We have to make Everest a special agency and by that I mean, the agency should attract top class clients and produce sound creative product." "It is," Banerjee adds, "the creative output that the agency is judged by, after all."
What is interesting to note is that the board has created the COO slot in the hierarchy of Everest, which wasn't there earlier. The raison d'etre for that, according to Banerjee, was the need for another senior person, who could operate at a level parallel to Chauhan. Banerjee adds that he would not be reporting to Chauhan but just as Chauhan does, he would be reporting to the board of directors.
Banerjee launched his career in advertising in the year 1988 with Contract. After a two year stint, Banerjee moved on to Clarion (now Bates) where he worked at the Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai offices. Eight years hence, Banerjee moved to Leo Burnett.
"I have worked for six years at Leo Burnett and today, the agency rocks. I think I would like to claim a small share for credit for that," says a modest Banerjee.
Banerjee's appointment comes close on the heels of Everest hiring the services of senior creative person, Devjyoti Barooah, along with several other senior executives.
In fact, Everest has been in the midst of quite a hiring spree in recent months. April 2004 saw the 58-year-old agency appointing Mahesh Chauhan as president.
Amongst the significant additions to Team Everest is Sourabh Mishra, who joined the agency as national planning director. With over 12 years of experience, Mishra moves from O&M, where he was one of the key planning resources. Having worked both on the agency and the client side, Mishra has long been seen as one of the industry's brightest planning talents.
Apart from Mishra, bolstering Everest's planning team further, Amit Kekre came in as planning director, Mumbai. Kekre has worked with agencies such as O&M, Lowe and JWT.
The appointment of Rajeev Rakshit as vice-president and head of Delhi office has also come in at recent times. Rakshit replaced Amitabha Lahiri, the former Delhi head at Everest. With over 13 years of experience, Rakshit came from Publicis.
On the creative front, apart from the recent hiring of Barooah, the Mumbai office has seen the entry of Vijay Lalwani as associate creative director. Lalwani, who used to work for O&M earlier, had a Finalist nomination at Cannes 2004.
Recent wins by Everest include Bharat Hotels, Aaj Tak, Zandu Pancharishta, Siemens Home Appliances, Intex Technologies, HFCL (Connect) and Valley View Estate (Ansal Properties) in Delhi.
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