The changes in Lowe India have led to the creation of two brand names – Lintas, the holding company, and Lowe, the advertising agency. Lintas has divisions such as IMAG companies, the media companies, the PR division and other disciplines, and Prem Mehta is Chairman of this Group.
A senior Lowe Worldwide official explained that the Lintas name had ceased to exist for the advertising agency – Lowe India. R Balki would now be heading Lowe India, and the leadership team of that agency that comprised Balki and Charles Cadell would report to Lowe Worldwide. As would Ashish Bhasin (Regional Director, Integrated Marketing, Lowe Worldwide) and Pranesh Misra (Global Director, Marketing Accountability), with the changes affected in their roles. There are changes also expected in the media discipline of Lintas.
For Mehta, this does mean that a lot of functions would not be under his charge now. The situation might look too complicated, but Mehta has a simple view. According to him, “The company has become extremely successful in all aspects of business – revenue growth, new clients, strong management team, network – in every sense. The future of the communications business is changing and we have to prepare the organisation to maintain the success of the Group.”
“At the same time, we have now integrated in a global network and many changes are inevitable. As you can see in the new roles, there are Indians who are going out of India, and people are coming to India as well. The route forward is to identify challenges and focus on them. This is one of the reasons why we took the option of selling the balance shares as well,” Mehta added.
In this backdrop, Mehta explained that it must be understood that it was time to start preparing for an appropriate succession. He said, “Three years ago I put some senior people in charge of each of our businesses. My plan even then was to allow people to run businesses as much as they could by themselves, and just support them in the process. This is precisely what my new role is, that of a counsellor, developing talent to take the agency to the next level, and this is what I want it to be.”
Explaining further on Mehta’s role, Carrie Welch, the Global Chief of PR for Lowe Worldwide, on behalf of Steve Gatfield, CEO, Lowe Worldwide, said, “Prem Mehta has been leading the company for many years now, and it has grown under his leadership. Continuing as the Chairman, in addition to looking after the various units of the Group, he has the overall role of an advisor to the other units as well.”
Mehta is also expected to work with a worldwide system to develop strategies for the future, “and to ensure that we are able to bring in the benefits of other IPG assets for the clients in India, in new areas of communication. The idea is to facilitate the process of bringing these brands in the company”, he added.
Welch added here, “Focussing on the reporting lines is not our way of thinking. It’s not who reports to whom, but who you are working with.”
Changes at Lowe: Balki becomes Chairman & CCO; Charles Cadell new man in as CEO; Pranesh Misra elevated to Global Director-Marketing Accounting