Key people movements that changed the advertising landscape in 2018

From the wave of #MeToo hitting the industry to Sir Martin Sorrell quitting WPP, we take a look at key people movements that shaped the industry in 2018

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Dec 28, 2018 8:52 AM

For the Indian advertising industry, 2018 has been a year defined by industry whiplash. From the wave of #MeToo hitting the industry hard to Sir Martin Sorrell quitting WPP, the world’s largest marketing communications group, we take a look at key people movements that shaped the industry in 2018.

Advertising titan Sir Martin Sorrell abruptly quit advertising giant WPP, ending the three-decade reign of one of the FTSE 100’s longest-serving and best-known bosses. His exit, with immediate effect, came after an investigation into an allegation of personal misconduct called time on one of the most distinguished careers in the advertising industry. 

Speaking about an important milestone this year, the appointment of Piyush Pandey to the role of Global Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy Group was announced. It is a milestone not just for Pandey and Ogilvy India but for the entire Indian advertising community as it puts India on the world map like never before. 

2018 was also the year when the avalanche of #MeToo hit the media and advertising industry hard. Among those who were made to step down were Happy mcgarrybowen’s Kartik Iyer and Praveen Das. Others who either resigned following the allegations or were asked to leave were Dinesh Swamy, iProspect India, Brijesh Jacob, Aniruddha Das, Deepak Nair, 22Feet Tribal Worldwide (DDB Mudra Group), Ishrath Nawaz (ex-Ogilvy employee), Publicis India (Publicis Groupe) and Ex-Dentsu Webchutney employee Omkar Sane. 

Mitali Srivastava Hough, Co-Founder and Head of Strategy at Utopeia, quit the company and explained her decision of moving out in an open letter. Following the allegations against the agency’s other co-founder, Sudarshan Banerjee, she shared that she quit since the complaints against him weren’t addressed. “I have resigned from Utopeia in protest at the dismissive attitude of the leadership towards the alleged survivors that came forward as part of #MeToo. Utopeia is not legally bound to investigate the allegations against the co-founder in question, but I believe there was a moral obligation… #MeToo is not about legalities. It’s an opportunity for organizations around the world to ensure that survivors are heard, that credence is given to their concerns, and that justice is given to them where appropriate.” Hough also wrote that there was “an attempt to change the narrative… to hint that I have run a conspiracy against him and to blame me for the disrepute that has followed the agency and him,” she wrote in her letter. 

In other people movements, Ajai Jhala resigned as CEO of BBDO India after spending 10 years with the agency since it set up shop in India. Arun Iyer, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer (CCO), Lowe Lintas, stepped down this year but remains as a creative consultant with the agency. Rana Barua also quit CLA to join Havas Group as CEO.

Bobby Pawar quit Publicis to join Havas. Nima Namchu, CCO, Havas also quit (plans around his next move aren't known yet). Ogilvy’s Creative Head in Delhi Ajay Gahlaut also put down his papers and is rumoured to have taken Pawar’s seat at Publicis. Among others, Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar moved from Cheil India to Contract and Ashish Chakravarty of Contract headed back to McCann as Executive Director and Head of Creative, India. Prateek Bhardwaj, National Creative Director, McCann Worldgroup India also quit the agency to join Lowe. 

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