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Who is Devika Bulchandani, Ogilvy’s new global CEO?

A short brief on the new chief of one of the world’s most popular creative networks.

Devika Bulchandani, on September 7, 2022, was announced as the new global chief executive officer of Ogilvy, an advertising and marketing giant. She, before this appointment, served as the global president and CEO of Ogilvy North America from 2021.

In her new appointment, she will be responsible for all aspects of the creative network’s business across 131 offices in 93 countries and spanning its advertising, public relations, experience, consulting, and health units.

Bulchandani takes over the reins from Andy Main who will stay on as a senior advisor until the end of the year. Unlike Main, who hailed from a non-advertising background (Deloitte and Capgemini) before taking over the role at Ogilvy, Bulchandani is a career ad woman.

She joined the advertising industry in 1995 and her first job was at Anderson and Lembke in New York City. She joined McCann in 1997 and spent 26 years at the IPG-owned agency and served in various leadership roles including President of McCann North America.

The advertising world, however, was never on Bulchandani’s radar. “I wanted to do something that had a positive impact,” she reveals, in a Vogue 2021 interview and the agency life did not fit the bill.

An alum from her graduate school in California persuaded her to give the industry a try, and she found herself at Anderson and Lembke. The Ogilvy global CEO then worked for free for the first three months and was then offered a job for $18,000, in the account planning group.

She joined McCann in 1997 and she told Vogue, “Advertising fits my personality like a box, it’s a perfect combination of left brain and right brain. You use analytical skills but it’s a creative industry. There are no machines, it’s people-based and I love that side of the equation.”

During her career, Bulchandani has been the driving force behind some of the most iconic campaigns in adland. One of them is the Priceless campaign from Mastercard. Launched in 1997, the “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else there’s Mastercard.” was an instant hit and could undoubtedly be termed a viral campaign if one were to use today’s terminology to describe a then campaign’s effectiveness.

She also helped execute “Fearless Girl,” a 2017 campaign which saw the installation of a bronze statue of a young girl facing the New York Stock Exchange, intending to stoke conversations on gender diversity. The campaign became one of the most awarded campaigns in the history of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

It is not now-part-of-zeitgeist campaigns which mark Bulchandani’s career, there are several awards and recognitions as well. For instance, she will, next month, will be honoured by New York Women in Communications (NYWIC) at the 2022 Matrix Awards.

She has previously received a range of other honours including, NY Power Woman by Moves Magazine; US Advertising Agency Head of the Year by Campaign Magazine; Working Mother of the Year by She Runs It; and ADCOLOR Innovator. She has been the recipient of multiple 4As Jay Chiat Awards for strategic planning.

She serves on the board of the ERA Coalition. She is also a founding member of Times Up Advertising and serves on the boards of the Ad Council, the 4A’s, and the Advertising Club.

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