Much has changed at Lintas India after the complete takeover of the company by the Interpublic group (IPG). The reorganisation of the company first saw top-management officials such as Pranesh Misra and Ashish Bhasin elevated to global and regional roles. That, however, was followed by near simultaneous exits of both of these executives. Steve Gatfield, CEO, Lowe Worldwide, divulged that the company was not on the lookout for replacements to take charge of the portfolios that these officials were handling. He said, “We would be looking for someone to head the Regional Activation side, but that’s all.”
There are more changes. The restructuring also means that Lintas India has done away with the IMAG structure. IMAG was the umbrella brand that housed specialist units that included the likes of Linterland, Lowe Personal and Lowe Healthcare, LinOpinion, Lintertainment, Aaren Initiative, Advent and d-Cell. Bhasin was looking after IMAG in India. In the new form, the brands that have a creative focus, such as d-Cell, would operate under the aegis of Lowe. Consequently, these brands would be reporting to the Lintas management.
The other brands, which are specialist in nature, would be cultivated into business units in themselves. Gatfield explained, “LinOpinion, for instance – it is working in the PR domain, which is an important industry. Brands such as these could be cultivated to be significant players in that particular industry.”
Very recently, Lowe had also done away with the SSC&B brand and instead launched Pickle in India. Gatfield explained, “Pickle is a distinct second agency that would be handling conflicting businesses for us. It would also allow access to some of our clients to the other parts of the Group.”
Was he expecting the exits of Misra and Bhasin at a time when Lowe is reorganising in India? “I was not surprised,” replied Gatfield. He added, “There are various reasons for this. India as a market is expanding and it is only natural for people to look at the more established players for resources. We have reorganised the Lintas group, and it is not the same that it was when these people were growing up here. And finally, there are many opportunities today that people would want to take up. What Pranesh is doing is really his strength. Ashish has got a similar opportunity too. Our relationship is as good as can be, and I am hopeful for their success.”
He explained that another reason why this didn’t impact Lintas India drastically was because Lowe had the “history of strong management development”. He said, “Northpoint is a strength we have in India that not many others can boast of. Lowe, worldwide, is known for a strong management structure.”
Lowe’s reorganisation had also seen changes in the Lintas Media Group, which was moulded into a Collectives model. Following this, Lynn de Souza was elevated to Chairman and CEO of LMG. There were speculations of another senior exit from the organisation in the technological department as well. Gatfield had said that this was not true. Lowe sources have another story to tell on that. In either case, much is changing at Lowe India and from the looks of it, the changes have only just begun.