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innovation: Our creative product is at top of its game; we’re innovating: Devika Seth Bulchandani, Global CEO, Ogilvy

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Ogilvy’s global chief executive, Devika Seth Bulchandani, announced key leadership changes for its India operations. Piyush Pandey, the current chairman global creative and executive chairman of Ogilvy India, will move into a chief advisor role, and Hephzibah Pathak will take on the role of executive chairperson. VR Rajesh, currently group president, has been named the CEO and SN Rane, group executive co-chairman India and COO South Asia, will work as business advisor to Ogilvy APAC. Ogilvy’s chief creative officers – Kainaz Karmakar, Sukesh Nayak and Harshad Rajadhyaksha – and chief strategy officer Prem Narayan have been appointed to the Ogilvy board. In an interview with ET, Seth Bulchandani terms Pandey’s move to the new role as a “very healthy organisation doing succession”. Edited excerpts:

Is Piyush Pandey’s transition into an advisory role likely to be viewed as a semi-retirement within the group?

It shouldn’t be viewed as Piyush’s semi-retirement but as a very healthy organisation doing succession. He’s going to be around, but we also have an incredible bench. Piyush has already been in a semi-advisory role to them and they’ve already been creating so much of the work. Most healthy organisations don’t have the ability to do succession because they haven’t planned for it.How is Pandey’s role different from his current responsibilities?
He’s stepping away from the day-to-day administration of the company. It’s a beautiful place to be in. He’s walking away from how the machine runs, but not from how the magic happens. Clients know him; he will be a mentor to our people, but not worry about the P&L.

It’s been a year since you’ve had the corner office at Ogilvy. What boxes have you checked and what’s on the cards?
It’s the consistency of our creative product all over the world that creates a healthy agency. Our creative product is at the top of its game. We’re innovating in our work. I look at our (long-standing) client relationships and we haven’t lost a significant piece of business in the last year. In fact, we have added big client relationships. We’re in a place where we’re having succession conversations and can attract the best talent.

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