Now, Group CEO & Equity Partner, Madison Media

21 Apr,2015

 

By A Correspondent

 

It’s a question which everyone in the industry has been asking him and each other since October 2014 when the name of a new Global CEO of Maxus was announced.

 

When we asked him then with the lyrics of a classic Bollywood song: Yeh kya hua, kaise hua, kyun huaaa, he replied in an equally filmi style: Main toh chala jidhar challe rasta – only in this case I have an idea of what the manzil is.

 

The ‘manzil’ clearly is the global headquarters of Madison World in North Mumbai.

 

We’re referring to the man you see in the picture: Vikram Sakhuja, inarguably one of the most powerful and well-known media agency professionals in the country today.

 

He joins Madison Media as an equity partner. A short statement we received from the office Madison World Chairman and Managing Director Sam Balsara announced:  “Madison World is delighted to announce that Vikram Sakhuja is set to join the Madison Media Group including OOH as Partner and Group CEO. Vikram will be responsible for the Media and OOH business of Madison World and will work closely with Sam Balsara.”

 

This has indeed been a coup of sorts. As a senior industryperson who has known both Balsara and Sakhuja from close quarters said: “Sam is one of the smartest and shrewdest mediaperson in the country. And he has proven that yet again by getting Vikram on board.”

 

The move also silences naysayers that Sam Balsara would do well to sell his stake in Madison World to a worthy international conglomerate. Perhaps he still will, the senior industryperson we spoke to earlier told us. “This may well be a way of saying that, yes, we are privately held company, but are professionally run.”

 

An alumnus of IIT Delhi and IIM Calcutta, Mr Sakhuja has over 28 years of experience across the media and marketing landscape.  He has worked with Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Star India and of course GroupM where he headed South Asia operations as CEO and later Global CEO of Maxus.

 

Said Mr Balsara in a statement: “I am delighted to have Vikram come on board and partner us in  Madison. I know Vikram as a true blue professional, over the last 20 years, first as a client, then a media partner and finally as a formidable competitor.  I am confident that he will be able to contribute significantly to our clients’ business growth and success, by providing the right strategic direction, given his vast and rich experience”.

 

Added Mr Sakhuja in the same statement:  “I am truly excited at the prospect of returning home to India and in an entrepreneurial capacity. It is also a privilege to now partner a person who initiated me into media in my Client days. Media has never been more exciting, and I look forward to further strengthening an already iconic Agency brand.”

 

Gautam Kiyawat

Meanwhile, Gautam Kiyawat, current Madison Media Group CEO has decided to relocate to Singapore for personal reasons.  Balsara said the following on his movement: “I would like to place on record Gautam’s substantial contribution to Madison Media in the three years that he has been with us, especially in the area of growing our people and working as a team. I thank Gautam for his contribution  and wish him all the best in his future endeavours”.

 

Madison Media Group is among the Top 3 media agency groups in the country handling media planning and buying for clients including Godrej, Mondelez, ITC, Marico, McDonald’s, Raymond, Piramal Healthcare, TVS, Levis, Domino’s, BhartiAxa, Max Life Insurance, Asian Paints, Pidilite, Tata Salt, Acer, Lafarge Cement, Crompton Greaves, Times Television Network, Indian Oil, Enamor Lingerie, Gowardhan Dairy, Viber, Lenskart, Metro Cash and Carry, Café Coffee Day and many others.  The gross billing of Madison Media is about Rs 3000 crore.

 

It’ll be interesting to see how Sakhuja as head of Madison Media takes on former employer GroupM and friend Shash Sinha IPG Mediabrands, both of who are formidable competitors.  As followers of the space, we couldn’t have asked for any better.

 

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