Ashwini Gangal

Rediffusion's president D Rajappa quits

Rajappa's next move is unknown at the moment. Meanwhile, the agency has roped in Sam Ahmed as vice-chairman and CCO.

In a significant development, D Rajappa, president, Rediffusion-Y&R, has called it quits. afaqs! learns the news from highly placed sources in the industry.

Rediffusion's president D Rajappa quits
A couple of months ago, the agency lost its national creative director,
. Paddy, as he is popularly known, left the agency to pursue other interests such as fiction and films.

Now, the agency has brought on board Sam Ahmed as vice-chairman and chief creative officer. Ahmed has, quite evidently, been roped in to fill the twin voids left by both Paddy, on the creative front and Rajappa, on the business side of things.

Ahmed, who will now be based in Mumbai, has worked with Y&R, Dubai, between 1992 and 2006. After spending 14 years at the agency, he got busy with his own ventures (Studio Central and Rockstar Entertainment) and has now been brought in to take charge of affairs at Rediffusion-Y&R Mumbai.

Rajappa's exit compels one to think back to December, 2010 when he joined the agency as president. Back then, his move to the agency from Everest Brand Solutions was likened to that of a new captain taking over to salvage a sinking ship; Rediffusion was, at the time, reeling from the loss of Mahesh Chauhan, its then group CEO, as well as the exodus of two of its big ticket clients, Airtel and Colgate.

Interestingly, that was the second time Rajappa was taking over from Chauhan; in 2006, when Chauhan moved out of Everest to head Rediffusion, Rajappa had taken over the reins at Everest from him.

Rajappa has been in the advertising industry for 24 years. He has spent around 17 years at Rediffusion, including four at its second agency, Everest.

He began his career in 1988 with McCann Erickson, New Delhi and moved on to Interact Vision, before joining Rediffusion-Y&R in 1994. Rajappa has managed some of the agency's prestigious clientele, including Airtel and GPI, among others.

In 2003, he assumed the role of CEO, Rediffusion-Y&R Sri Lanka, after which he moved to Everest as president.

Rajappa's next move is unknown at the moment.

On Ahmed's appointment, Diwan Arun Nanda, chairman and managing director, Rediffusion, says, "We searched the globe for such a creative talent. It is good to have a person of Sam's credentials lead the creative team at Rediffusion."

Addressing his appointment, Ahmed says, "When the chairman of a legendary agency offers you a challenge to make Rediffusion the No.1 creative agency in India, you don't ask too many questions, except 'Where do I sign?'. I have some of the most amazing brands at Rediffusion to work with and am really excited."

Ahmed has been part of the advertising and communications industry since the age of 21. At 28, he was named creative director at Y&R, Dubai. Within three years, he was promoted as partner and regional executive creative director of Y&R brands for the region. Later, in 2009, he founded the Creative Club of Dubai.

Ahmed has also been a consultant to the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed's executive office on several Dubai projects including DIFC and Burj Khalifa.

Brands Ahmed has worked on so far include Ford, Nestle, Pepsi, P&G, Colgate-Palmolive, Citibank, Harvey Nichols, Skoda, Land Rover, Jaguar, Sony Ericsson, Du Telecom, Zain Telecom, HTC, Apple and World Gold Council.

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