While we are behind WPP, we do have full intention of moving ahead with speed. Our creative agencies have a good set of clients and the media agencies have been growing rapidly. So, in the next five years we will see the Publicis Group companies growing, but it will be a while before we catch up with WPP. To some extent, I agree that we have not been as media focused as we could have been, but we would like to change that very soon. The biggest client in India is with WPP for creative as well as media, so that tends to give them a lot of attention. We, however, intend to catch up soon.
Sandeep Lakhina is a management professional with over 18 years of rich cross-functional and global experience with leading companies in India and the US. He joined Starcom MediaVest Group in 2007 after moving back to India from the US, where he worked for eight years. As Chief Operating Officer for South Asia, Lakhina leads the Starcom team with a mandate to provide strong service delivery to clients, and grow the business in the region.
Previously, he had worked with The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, leading global initiatives on strategy and operational effectiveness across the company and the bottling system. Prior to that, he was with Deloitte Consulting USA in their strategy and operations practice, working with Fortune 500 clients such as AT&T, Coors, JP Morgan Chase, JC Penny, K-Mart, Zales, and Blockbuster. He also consulted middle market clients during the dotcom boom era, helping develop their business plan and launch portals in the online retail and loyalty programme space. Immediately after moving back to India, Lakhina was part of the management team and heading the Indian operations of a UK-based digital marketing company.
Before moving to the USA in 2000, Lakhina had worked with Zenith Computers in sales, EuroRSCG Advertising in client servicing, and Ebony Retail, heading their marketing function. He started off in the early 90s, running his own company in the apparel trade space, after spending a year with Bajaj Electricals as a management trainee.
Lakhina is a double MBA from IMT Ghaziabad and the Cox School of Business, SMU, Dallas, Texas. He is a technology buff, with interests ranging from reading and movies to surfing and cricket. He is in the process of relocating to Mumbai.
In this interview with exchange4media’s Khushboo Tanna, Lakhina speaks about Starcom’s journey in India, growth plans and the future focus on digital media.