Ashwini Gangal

Taproot India finds CEO in Umesh Shrikhande

In his most recent agency role, he was CEO of Contract Advertising India.

The Dentsu India Group has appointed Umesh Shrikhande as the new chief executive officer of Taproot India. In his most recent agency role, Shrikhande was CEO of Contract Advertising India, a position now occupied by Rana Barua, albeit as chief operating officer.

Taproot India finds CEO in Umesh Shrikhande
In November 2012, Shrikhande decided to move on from Contract, citing his desire to pursue "other options and interests" as his reason. As it turns out, after a gap of eight months, he is back in the CEO's coveted chair, this time at Dentsu's Taproot.

Commenting on the development, Rohit Ohri, executive chairman, Dentsu India Group, says, "I'm delighted that Umesh has chosen to join us. Aggi (Agnello Dias, co-founder and chief creative officer, Taproot), Paddy (Santosh Padhi, co-founder and chief creative officer, Taproot) and I look forward to his partnership in this exciting new phase of growth at Taproot. Umesh is an industry professional I've always had the highest regard for and now, I'm happy to have this opportunity to work with him."

Taproot India finds CEO in Umesh Shrikhande
Aggi, in turn, appreciates Shrikhande's vast experience, sharpness, insights and clarity on the way mass communication in the contemporary world works. Paddy says, "With the kind of experience Umesh has and the number of youngsters Taproot has, it will be a wonderful blend."

Shrikhande calls his new role a "delightful privilege." He says, "Aggi and Paddy are not just immensely talented, but also happen to be wonderful people who have managed to build an attractive reputation for Taproot despite a hugely competitive environment." As for his new position, he hopes his understanding of strategy, people and relationships will help him execute his new mandate in the days ahead.

Shrikhande has to his credit over two decades of industry experience. A management graduate from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), he began his career with Lintas (now Lowe Lintas & Partners), where he spent six years. Then, he joined Contract and worked there for nine years before moving to Euro RSCG (now Havas Worldwide). Subsequently, he joined Lemon, an agency founded by Ravi Deshpande, after which he came back to Contract in 2005; in 2008, he took over as CEO of the agency from Jagdip Bakshi.

Brands Shrikhande has worked closely on through the course of his career include HSBC, Cadbury, Asian Paints, Shopper's Stop, Philips, VIP, Bajaj Auto, BBC World, Aegon-Religare, Tata Indicom, Disney, Zoom, DNA and Grasim.

For the record, Taproot India was founded in 2009 by Agnello Dias and Santosh Padhi.In a matter of just five years, Taproot has become one of the most talked about and awarded agencies around. Among the agency's first big account wins was a project for Nirma, followed by Pepsi's World Cup Signature campaign. Later on, the team went on to create memorable ad campaigns for brands like Airtel ('Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai' followed by 'Jo Tera Hai Woh Mera') and Mumbai Mirror, the 'I am Mumbai' campaign for which went on to win a Gold Lion in the Film Craft category at Cannes in 2012. More recently, Taproot continued its winning spree and brought home Outdoor and Design Lions from Cannes.

In August last year, Dentsu acquired 51 per cent stake in the Mumbai-based creative agency.

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