Sumita Vaid

Ajit Shah to lead RKSwamy's northern operations as executive director

Shah, who was executive director at Dhar & Hoon till recently, has joined RKSwamy/BBDO as executive director

Ajit Shah, who was executive director at Dhar & Hoon till recently, has joined RKSwamy/BBDO as executive director. Shah steps into the shoes of ex-COO RKSwamy/BBDO, Sunil Gupta. In his is new role Shah will spearhead the northern region operations of the Chennai-headquartered agency. In another interesting development, Pranvir Mann, who was a creative consultant with Mudra for 13 years, has joined RKSwamy/BBDO as senior creative director.

Shah moves to RKSwamy/BBDO after two years of service at Delhi-based creative hotshop Dhar & Hoon. Shah spent the first 22 years of his advertising career at Everest Integrated Communications, where he picked up the basic tenets of advertising after a brief stint at Hindustan Times. Joining Everest in 1979, when the agency's Delhi branch was being set up, Shah moved to take charge of the agency's Mumbai office when Munawar Sayeed (managing director) and Ali Merchant (deputy managing director) left the agency to form Triton Advertising in 1991. After an eight-year stint at the agency's Mumbai branch, Shah returned to Delhi in 1999 as president.

On his part, Mann decided to move out of the network he was associated with for 13 years purely to seek change. RKSwamy/BBDO is at once a challenge and an opportunity to build a strong brand. "Any change is good. The Delhi branch of RKSwamy is looking good with the right people around now. Tarun (Ahuja, vice-president) is there and Ajit Shah has joined us. In addition, there is the satisfaction of building the branch into a bigger brand," says Mann.

During his 13-year stint at Mudra Communications, Mann has worked on a number of high profile brands. Among his more memorable campaigns are the ‘Freshetarian' campaign for Samsung refrigerators and the Reliance Infocomm campaign featuring Dhirubhai Ambani. The other brands that he has worked on are Dabur, Ambassador and a few more from the Nestle stable. Incidentally, RKSwamy/BBDO offered Mann his first brush with advertising, when he joined the agency as copywriter. After a year, he moved to Clarion (now Bates), where he worked for another four-five years before moving to Mudra.

For RKSwamy/BBDO - which is ranked No 7 (with gross income of Rs 44.15 crore) in the 12th A&M Agency Report - Ajit Shah will be expected to carry forward the work started by Sunil Gupta, who joined the agency in December 2, 2002, amid expectations of an early turnaround. However, with his sudden departure in September 2003, followed by that of Pankaj Mridul, senior vice-president and executive national creative director, things did look a little shaky at the agency's Delhi office.

With these key changes at the helm now, the agency would definitely look forward to a more fruitful 2004. © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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