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VML onboards Babita Baruah as chief executive officer of India

Saurabh Saksena appointed president, and Wunderman Thompson CEO Shamsuddin Jasani steps down.

VML, a global brand, customer experience and commerce company, has announced Babita Baruah will join as chief executive officer of India from March 1, 2024, and will partner with Saurabh Saksena, who has been elevated to the role of president.

Additionally, Shamsuddin Jasani, Wunderman Thompson South Asia CEO has stepped down from his position.

With an accomplished career spanning 25 years in marketing and advertising, Baruah joins VML India from a dual role working across WPP's Ford International Market Group as regional client lead and executive director at VMLY&R Thailand.

She spent two decades at JWT/Wunderman Thompson India, where she lead global and local brands such as PepsiCo, Unilever, Nestlé, Kellogg’s, Godrej, Kotak Mahindra, Reliance, and Aditya Birla. In 2017, Baruah joined the GTB business in India as managing partner and moved to Bangkok in 2021 in a dual capacity role as WPP lead for the Ford business across India, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the Middle East, and South Africa, and executive director, VMLY&R Thailand.

She commented, “I look forward to working closely with Audrey, Yi-Chung, Saurabh, and the whole team in India to make sure that we connect creativity, experience, data and technology, to be the preferred destination for India’s ambitious brands and talented individuals.”

Audrey Kuah, co-CEO, VML APAC, said, “With her vast experience in delivering innovation and growth for clients and a passion for building a high empathy and performance culture, I look forward to working with Babita to take our India business to new heights in 2024.”

Yi-Chung Tay, co-CEO, VML APAC, added, “Saurabh and Babita will be a driving force for growth in India. I’ve watched Babita grow the Ford and VMLY&R Thailand businesses over the years and I’m confident that she will do the same for our clients in India. Saurabh’s elevation is founded on his record of successfully integrating VMLY&R India’s offices, building culture and increasing profitability.”

Over the years, Saksena has worked with brands in diverse categories such as CPG, retail, finance, technology, automotive, e-commerce and QSRs.

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