TBWA\India has decided to downsize its Chennai office to a skeletal team, and handle clients in the city from its offices in Bengaluru and Mumbai.
According to agency CEO Shiv Sethuraman, of the 14 staff members in the Chennai branch, ‘a few key people’ would be relocated to Bengaluru, while a ‘small, skeletal team’ will be retained in Chennai to handle client requirements.
Sethuraman explained the shift, and said, “Chennai as a market offers limited potential, so attracting talent is a challenging issue. A lot of clients here want to work with the best talent we have nationally, and not necessarily with the talent that is closest to them geographically.”
He cited developments like Mumbai-based Jyothy Laboratories’ acquisition of Chennai-headquartered client Henkel India last year, as another contributor to the trend of other offices handling work on Chennai-based clients.
Contract Advertising, Mudra (now DDB Mudra), Bates India, Euro RSCG (now Havas), Orchard Advertising and MAA Communications are some of the agencies which shut their Chennai branches in the past few years. According to reliable sources, more network agencies have downsized the headcount considerably in Chennai.
“Our largest businesses remain with us, and clients have been informed of the restructuring of operations. The world is moving towards a centralised model and this is in line with that,” Sethuraman added.
The largest businesses of TBWA\India in Chennai are Jyothy Laboratories, Sify and Sundaram Finance. Jyothy and Sify work will move to teams in Bengaluru and Mumbai. Sundaram Finance, which involves media, will be handled in part from the Chennai office, and supported by teams in other offices.
Arindam Sengupta will continue to head South operations, which will now comprise the Bengaluru office and the skeletal operations in Chennai.
Arya Bhaskaran, who was the Chennai branch head until recently, was not reachable for comment. According to the agency, she had put in her papers even before the decision to downsize Chennai operations was taken.