Structure, Talent and Innovation are action points for PK at Mindshare, says GMan. Exclusive to MxM

03 Feb,2015

Gowthaman Ragothaman

Given that both CVL Srinivas, CEO GroupM South Asia and Prasanth ‘PK’ Kumar, Managing Partner, Central Trading Group, GroupM South Asia and CEO-designate Mindshare South Asia were busy with the presentation of the ‘This Year Next Year’ report, they preferred to not speak on the latter’s appointment to the top job. But since PK will also report into Gowthaman Ragothaman (better known as GMan), COO of Mindshare Asia Pacific, Pradyuman Maheshwari spoke to GMan in Singapore and requested him to respond to a few questions via email.

 

It’s been three years since you moved out from direct responsibility of South Asia. From a regional perspective, what are the broad challenges facing the India office?

We have to treat India/South Asia as a region. No other market/office in the world has so many offices. We have Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Lahore, Dhaka and Colombo. While all other markets are structured for a “one office leadership”, as we have expanded and grown across offices, our “speed to market” was significantly tested in the last few years – this is an internal dynamic. As an industry, I realised, when I moved out into the region, India is very inclusive and try to do/invent all things inside when a lot of best practice can be just replicated or brought into the country. I also realised that the talent drain from India to the region, has sort of depleted some good quality talent in the country. So Structure, Talent and Innovation – are the three broad challenges.

 

Prasanth Kumar is a seasoned GroupM hand. What are the specific targets you have for him?

Pretty much the above 3 points. And you will see some of these happening quite fast and quick.

 

In your statement on PK’s appointment, you speak about getting leadership talent from within the group. But, don’t you think that for achieving something out-of-the-box or hat ke, as they say in India, you need to bring in talent from the outside?

Totally agree with you. We continue to diversify out talent pool at all levels – and the constant churn in the industry helps us to manage this, especially when you flip it as an opportunity instead of a problem. Almost all the recruitments we have made in Mindshare in the past 2-3 years are external talent. And at the same time, if you look at the challenges that I have mentioned in the first point, our considered view is to groom local talent to leadership positions as they come with tremendous insights of the organisational issues. It is  a considered choice…but not necessarily a permanent choice for all the times.

 

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