VivaKi, the strategic unit created by Publicis Groupe to leverage the combined scale of its media and digital operations, has announced two key leadership appointments in India. Srikant Sastri, Managing Director of Solutions Digitas, becomes the VivaKi Country Chair for India, while Ambika Srivastava, CEO of ZenithOptimedia India, takes on additional responsibility as Chairperson of the India Media Exchange (IMX).
In his new role, Sastri will work collaboratively with the regional and local leadership of Digitas, Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia to strengthen and grow the agencies. Country Chairs will support the brand leaders to drive cross-brand growth initiatives for VivaKi in India, as well as deliver against operational and financial goals. Sastri will report into the VivaKi Board of Directors.
Srivastava has been asked to preside over IMX, a media investment unit formed in 2007 to leverage the combined scale of Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia. She will continue to work with the marketplace and the VivaKi brand leadership to deliver textured, differentiated and context-specific solutions from media owners.
According to David Kenny, Managing Partner of VivaKi, India is one of the fastest growing marketing markets – having grown in billings more than 50 per cent since 2006.
Kenny said, “There are two strategic opportunities for VivaKi to leverage its powerful scale in India. One is to leverage our significant media buying clout, and the other is to aggregate additional resources and investment dollars to deliver new tools, digital capabilities and technology platforms to clients. We are fortunate to have two proven leaders uniquely qualified to deliver on the full potential of our scale in this robust and growing market. Srikant’s digital expertise and capacity for activating solutions will benefit our brands in market. Ambika will bring her investment acumen and a reputation for innovation to IMX.”
Sastri had co-founded Solutions Integrated in 1995 after spending 10 years at Unilever on the Pond’s business, and also McCann-Erickson. He led Solutions to a leadership position in the market by offering an integrated suite of CRM, digital, experiential, and shopper marketing services. After Publicis Groupe acquired a majority stake in Solutions in 2006, and then aligned it to the Digitas network, Solutions Digitas has expanded rapidly in both India and South-East Asia. A celebrated industry pioneer, Srikant is an active speaker at industry events. Under his leadership, Solutions Digitas has also become the most awarded marketing services agency in India.
As Chairperson of IMX, Srivastava brings to her role more than 25 years of experience, working with India’s premiere advertising agencies such as McCann Erickson, Lintas and HTA (now JWT). During her expansive career, she has launched and established brands for a number of clients, including Coca-Cola, Gillette, General Motors, Fidelity, HP, Nestle and Unilever, to name a few. With Srivastava at the helm of ZO India, the agency has emerged in a very short span as one of the top four media agencies in India’s annual Brand Equity Reckoner listing. ZO also witnessed the launch of Zed Digital, and Zenith Consult, as well as the addition of new clients, Aviva, The Discovery Channel, Emaar MGF, Haier, Hyundai, Ministry of Tourism, The Oberoi Hotels and Times Business Solutions.
On her new role, Srivastava said, “I am very happy at being given the opportunity to lead India Media Exchange in what are challenging and exciting times. Today, IMX enjoys a formidable reputation as a strong buyer which is focused on delivering great value to the clients of both Starcom Worldwide and ZenithOptimedia. I am looking forward to working with our media partners and the exceptionally talented team at India Media Exchange to drive incremental value for our clients.”
“The challenge of creating synergies for the business, whilst enabling SMG, Digitas and ZenithOptimedia to flourish in their own right is one that I relish. We have great opportunities to offer end-to-end digital marketing services by combining the strengths of the three brands. The Indian digital market is poised for take-off, and we want to be positioned well for this,” said Sastri, adding, “Additionally, we’re gearing up to tap synergies in the non-digital space by offering clients an array of consumer touch-points as part of a media-neutral strategy. I look forward to working with the brand CEOs to help liberate these assets, deliver growth and ultimately to meet and exceed the expectations of our clients and their future needs.”