The Face of Leo Burnett India bows out

29 Oct,2013

Arvind Sharma

By A Correspondent


The late 50s is a horrible age to be at. Retirement rules make 58 the cut-off, though not every one follows it. For Arvind Sharma, the long-standing Face of Leo Burnett in India, that milestone is coming up next year.



Saurabh Varma

Everyone knew that this was to have happened sooner or later, so in a sense the winds of change were surely blowing at the India headquarters of the network. Although discussions are said to have been on for a while with the global bosses, Mr Sharma, designated Chairman and CEO of the India subcontinent, is moving on. Saurabh Varma, Regional Chief Strategy Officer of the network’s APAC office will helm India ops.


The transition is swift as Varma takes charge with effect from Friday, November 1, and will report to Jarek Ziebinski, President, Leo Burnett Asia Pacific. While Mr Sharma is said to be leaving to pursue business interests outside of the industry, he will be available as a strategic advisor until July 2014. Nitish Mukherjee, Director on the Board of the company, will play a key role in this transition as a strategic consultant.


Tom Bernardin, Chairman and CEO, Leo Burnett Worldwide made the announcements in Mumbai on Monday. Said Bernardin on the leadership changes, “Arvind Sharma has worked tirelessly over the past 30 years to build Leo Burnett into one of India’s leading creative agencies. During his tenure, Arvind built a stellar client base that includes blue chip multinational and local clients and nurtured some of the brightest stars within the Indian advertising industry today.” Added Ziebinski, “I’d like to thank Arvind for his contribution to our success and close collaboration over the past four years since I arrived in the region. I wish Arvind nothing but the best for his new future.”


While Mr Sharma hasn’t revealed details of the venture he is getting into, he said:,”I had a very long and fruitful run as the leader of Leo Burnett in the Indian subcontinent. As I approached the company-defined age of 58, I would like to start something totally new. I look back at my 30 years at the agency and 21 years of leading it with a great deal of satisfaction.”


Continued Mr Bernardin, “We are fortunate to have a strong management team on ground in India and equally fortunate in having the bench strength in the region in naming Saurabh to this role. Saurabh’s combined experience and knowledge of having worked across creative, media and digital agencies is invaluable as we look to elevate the agency to its next stage of development in India.”


Mr Ziebinski said, “In our search for the next generation leader of Leo Burnett India, a strategically important market for us and our clients, Saurabh came up as the best candidate.”


Commenting on his new role, Mr Varma said, “India is home to me, this new role is coming full circle to where it all began. Being a part of the regional team for Asia Pacific has given me a unique perspective and experience of diverse markets across the region and I look forward to bringing this understanding to my new role.”


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