Pritha Dasgupta
May 09, 2013

Grey India rejigs planning team

Arindam Sarkar, Sarabpreet Bedi exit; Abhishek Chaturvedi, Soumitra Patnekar, Ajay Ravindran among new hires

Grey India rejigs planning team

WPP agency Grey India is restructuring its planning team.

The agency had appointed Dheeraj Sinha chief strategy officer, South & South East Asia, in August 2012, a while after former chief strategy planning officer APAC and national planning director India Bindu Sethi exited (in end-2011). A slew of changes have followed, with the agency’s focus being on strengthening the planning function.

Arindam Sarkar, vice president, strategic planning, at the Mumbai office, and Sarabpreet Bedi, group strategic planning director, in Delhi, have exited the company.

The agency has made a string of new hires in planning over the last three months. New hands include Abhishek Chaturvedi who has come in as AVP (Delhi), moving from Interactive Avenues. Soumitra Patnekar has joined as planning director, moving from Future Brands. Sonya Misquitta from Publicis has been roped in as senior planning manager at Mumbai. In Bengaluru, Ajay Ravindran from JWT is on board as senior planning director and Shreeja Das from DDB Mudra as senior planning manager.

Speaking to Campaign India, Jishnu Sen, CEO, Grey India, said, “We are not looking at simply replacing people. This year the focus is on the planning division and we will be looking at bolstering our planning teams across all our offices.”

On the changes, Sinha said, “This makes the role of strategic planning very central at Grey. Our way of planning is a combination of rigor and intuition. Our planners need to be on top of brand and business thinking, bring radical clarity on the table from a problem and opportunity definition perspective, at the same time they need to stimulate better creativity. So there is a renewed focus on the kind of work we do and evaluate its effects.”

The existing planning team at Grey includes J DonBosco, director planning, digital; Meghna Girohtra, associate account planning director, digital; Salomi Chakraborty, junior planner, digital; Aditya Krishnadas, planning manager; and Aparna Moossaddee, senior planning manager.

Sinha added, “I am not personally interested in great thinking that doesn’t result into great work. Moreover, in today’s times our thinking needs to drive engagement. The days of television commercial as a starting point are over. This has implications on the way we hire and how we organise ourselves. Our planners bridge the distance between culture codes and digital codes.”

The agency claims the effort is already showing results, with new business wins like the Tea Board and Reliance Broadcast Network accounts and some good brand work on current accounts in the pipeline.

“This is a good starting point for a team. The idea is to work a lot more collaboratively within planning and with creative. The model is to have different abilities such as digital thinking, semiotic analysis, and shopper marketing within the team. There is a different texture to the quality of conversations in a team like this. We will see more such hires across our offices soon,” surmised Sinha.

Campaign India