Previously the chief strategy officer for Singapore and Malaysia, Varma will report directly to Jarek Ziebinski, president of Leo Burnett Asia-Pacific, and will oversee all heads of strategy and planning directors across all Leo Burnett Group offices in Asia-Pacific.
Varma will continue as a member of the Leo Burnett Worldwide HumanKind Standards Board. He also represents Leo Burnett Asia-Pacific on the Leo Burnett Worldwide Global Planning Board.
“Saurabh's new role is all about supporting us on our mission to build the agency of the future,” Ziebinski commented on the appointment.
He went on to say that Varma is tasked to make sure that strategists of all planning disciplines across Asia-Pacific are properly trained and well-equipped.
“This will help us further develop integrated planning and effectiveness culture. It will also allow us to continue to grow our business in all possible dimensions,” he added.
A postgraduate in Communications, Varma has been with Leo Burnett since 2007 and has more than 14 years of experience working across multiple categories including retail, FMCG, banking and finance and consumer durables.
He has worked on clients such as Indian Oil, Lakme (Unilever), Vicks (P&G), Nivea, Fosters, Philips, HP, Blackberry, Samsung, Friesland Campina Asia-Pacific (Dutch Lady/Foremost/Frisian Flag), MCYS and United Overseas Bank. He was awarded the 'Strategic Planner of the Year' at the 'Hall of Fame' in 2010.
Varma noted that he aims to make Leo Burnett the strategic partner of choice for its clients in Asia-Pacific. “An outstanding strategic product is key for us to continue our momentum and be the fastest growing and most creative network in the region,” he said.
In line with the appointment, Leo Burnett will also be launching a regional effectiveness council, headed by Varma, which will comprise of key effectiveness leaders overseeing sub-regions of Southeast Asia, North Asia, India and Subcontinent and Australia.
This article first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific.