Jagdip Bakshi, CEO Contract Advertising, has been selected from within the WPP system to the role of global business director on the Unilever business at JWT. Bakshi (pictured) will be based out of London and the appointment comes into effect from September 2008. At the same time, Ravi Deshpande, national creative director, Contract Advertising has been elevated to the post of chairman and chief creative officer. The person expected to partner Deshpande and take up Bakshi's responsibility at Contract has not been decided yet and a decision will be made soon. Michael Maedel, president, JWT is in the country at the moment to decide on Bakshi's successor.
Bakshi has worked on the Unilever business before, out of London in 2000, working on the Lipton and Lux business. His responsibilities will include client relationship management as well as ensuring advertising solutions in line with all product categories.
With a slowdown taking place in the global economy, these are tough times for the industry given the pressure on margins and ad spends and while Bakshi admits the job is not easy, he says he is upto the challenge. He adds, "These are tough times for the industry and tougher times for JWT. Unilever is one of JWT's biggest clients and one of their oldest. So along with the spotlight, comes the responsibility of being judged under a microscope for everything that you do. In the short to medium term, my job would be to get JWT back to being the most respected of Unilever's roster agencies globally."
It's a great sign for Indians in advertising too and Bakshi says it's an affirmation of the quality of Indian talent, which he believes are at par with anywhere else in the world. "I remember being the first Asian working out of the London office while working on the Unilever business. Times have changed, of course, since then and that's great."