Hires & Promotions: Dentsu, Zee TV, MRUCI, upGrad

Quick look at new hirings, promotions and people movements this week

Dentsu Appoints Ajay Gahlaut As Group Chief Creative Officer 

Dentsu India has announced the appointment of creative veteran Ajay Gahlaut as its Group Chief Creative Officer (GCCO).

Dentsu India initiated the formation of a new structure for its Creative service line in June this year. The redesign - part of the network’s global plan to transform into the most integrated group in the world by 2024, brings together some of India’s best agencies under one umbrella and catapults Dentsu India into its fresh journey to 2.0. The agency brands that come together under this new creative design are Dentsu Webchutney, Taproot Dentsu, WATConsult, Perfect Relations, Isobar, Dentsu One, Dentsu India and Dentsu Impact.

With over 27 years of experience in advertising, Ajay wrote the line ‘Do Boond Zindagi Ki’ that anchored the famous Pulse Polio Immunisation campaign with the superstar Amitabh Bachchan. He also created more than a dozen commercials for the campaign and played a significant part in eradicating polio from India. He was also behind the line ‘Make It Large’ for the whiskey brand Royal Stag, ‘men will be men’ for whiskey brand Imperial Blue and created the character of ‘Mr. Murthy’ for Voltas Air Conditioners.

Commenting on Ajay’s appointment, Amit Wadhwa, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dentsu Creative India said, “Dentsu India is in the midst of an exciting transformation journey towards Dentsu India 2.0 and Ajay’s joining is a critical part of the plan. Ajay is a well-respected Creative leader with years of experience across categories and the right mindset that matches with Dentsu India 2.0. With the brilliant Creative minds in our business, we will be a force to be reckoned with, delivering growth for our clients while continuing our creative evolution at pace and scale.”

On his appointment, Gahlaut said, “When the opportunity came to join Amit and his team, I could not refuse. Creativity is in the spotlight, with brands looking to differentiate themselves in a disrupted marketplace – it has never been a more exciting time to work in this field rich with opportunity. I am excited to join Dentsu, Amit and the Creative teams, delighting clients and creating era-defining work together.”

Siddhesh Maldikar Joins Zee TV As Director-Marketing

Siddhesh Maldikar has joined ZEEL-owned Hindi GEC Zee TV as Director-Marketing. Formerly he worked for Sony Pictures Networks India as a Senior Manager of Marketing.

“New Beginnings as I start my journey with Zee TV as Director - Marketing,” informed Maldiker on his LinkedIn post.

He has also worked with Hindustan Unilever as Senior Brand Executive of Magnum Ice Creams.

Shashi Sinha Elected As Chairman And Shailesh Gupta As Vice-Chairman of MRUCI

The Media Research Users Council of India (MRUCI) convened its 27th Annual General Meeting (AGM) through Video Conferencing on Thursday, September 2, 2021, taking into account each member's health and safety as well as the present constraints imposed by the pandemic.

MRUCI's Chairman and Vice Chairman have been unanimously chosen as Shashi Sinha, CEO of IPG Mediabrands in India, and Shailesh Gupta, Director of Jagran Prakashan. The statement was made at MRUCI's Board meeting, which took place immediately after the organization's annual general meeting.

Sinha takes over the mantle from Pratap Pawar, Chairman, Sakal Media Group, who served as MRUCI’s Chairman for two consecutive terms i.e. from 2019-20 and 2020-21.

While handing over the mantle, Pawar said, “We faced some challenging times due to the global pandemic, but I am glad we are soon returning to normalcy. With the change in name from Media Research Users Council (MRUC) to Media Research Users Council India (MRUCI), and the modification of IRS questionnaire, we will not only further boost our national stature and representation, but also successfully meet the fast-evolving needs and expectations of our stakeholders. I thank all our Board Members and Stakeholders for all their support and I give my best wishes to Mr Shashi Sinha and all the new Board Members.”

Sinha also addressed, “I thank Mr Pawar for his selfless leadership and valuable guidance especially in these unprecedented times. MRUCI has long played a very crucial role in providing the industry with reliable, robust and realistic data, and now more than ever, the industry looks toward us to meet their expectations in maintaining and propagating the highest possible standards of integrity, fairness and reliability in media research. As our Country slowly resumes to normalcy, our priority will be to begin the IRS fieldwork at the soonest, in consideration with the ground realities.”

New members have also been appointed to the Board of Governors, viz:

  1. Mr Pratap Pawar, Chairman, Sakal Media Group
  2. Mr Dhruba Mukherjee, CEO, ABP 
  3. Mr Jayant Mammen Mathew, Executive Editor & Director, MM Publications

Shashi Sinha is actively involved in various industry bodies such as the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), The Ad Club, Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC). IIT Kanpur and IIM Bangalore are both his alma maters. With over 30 years of experience in the sector, he has established a highly regarded team of experts and organisations that now make up the country's top media network.

Jagran Prakashan's Director, Shailesh Gupta, has worked with the organisation for over 25 years. He was elected as the youngest member of the Managing Committee of the Audit Bureau of Circulation for the 2004-05 fiscal year, the ABC Chairman in 2012-13, and the Chairman of the INS for the 2019-20 fiscal year. In 2014, the World Marketing Congress named him the "Most Talented CMO of India," and the Rotary Club of India named him the "Youngest Entrepreneur Of The Year." He also received the Merchants' Chamber of U.P.'s "Excellence Award for Communication and Mass Entertainment."

Yogesh Nehra Appointed President Of Technology By upGrad

Yogesh Nehra has been appointed as the President of Technology at upGrad, where he will lead the development of the digital infrastructure and make the online learning experience more immersive for upGrad's worldwide learners.

On Nehra's appointment, the company issued a statement and said,“He is entrusted with the responsibility for leading high-performing engineering teams, and driving digital transformation initiatives like product conceptualisation, and application architecture, which can further continue to add-on to the platform’s capabilities for a smoother consumer experience."

On welcoming Yogesh to his new role, Mayank Kumar, C0-Founder & MD, upGrad, said, "We are thrilled to have Yogesh join the upGrad family at such an important juncture. As we are witnessing exponential growth in our user base, the existing infrastructure needs incremental re-engineering to embrace newer technologies that can be integrated into our existing processes to deliver a superior learning experience. I am confident that his proven expertise in the domain will lead the company to the next level and support the ever-accelerating growth trajectory of the business."

Yogesh Nehra, President - Technology, upGrad, added, “I am excited to join upGrad and contribute towards the vision of powering career success for every member of the global workforce. I look forward to working with this dynamic team and using my expertise in building a product roadmap and infrastructure that will play a significant role in the company’s expansion journey in the coming years.”