Amith Prabhu: 15 events in World and Indian PR

28 Dec,2015

By Amith Prabhu


1. New CEO for MSLGROUP – MSLGROUP became the first of the big five firms to bring in a global CEO from a rival firm in recent times by snapping Fleishman’s Guillaume Herbette, a French man.


2. New CEO for Fleishman – A few weeks later Fleishman announced that Dave Senay was retiring and his successor would be John Saunders who until recently headed the firm’s EMEA region.


3. Stagwell Group created – A new holding company was created by former BM global boss Mark Penn. The LLC is named in memory of 17th Century Maryland landowner, Thomas Stagwell. I’m sure it has its eyes set on India.


4. Cannes PR Lions – The Cannes PR Lions continued in the same old way where an ad agency work got the top spot. Like last year, there was the involvement of the PR firm as well. But there has been no PR Lion Grand Prix that was won by a PR firm on its own.


5. Adfactors PR is a Top 100 firm – Adfactors broke into the Top 100 PR firm list as per The Holmes Report ranking becoming the only South Asian firm to make it to the coveted list. It was a big year of award wins for this 18-year-old company.


6. Prema Sagar is promoted – This was a first. PRema has held the designation of Principal and Founder for 22 years. This year an addituional title of Vice Chair – Asia Pacific got added, thus making her the only Indian who reports directly to the Global CEO of a Top 10 firm.


7. Cohn & Wolfe acquires Six Degrees – One of the smartest of the new age firms in India was acquired by WPP company Cohn & Wolfe. Rishi Seth and Zacharia James will co-lead the new entity.


8. Astrum is launched – Ashwani Singla snapped decade long ties with WPP Group to create his own firm. Astrum is the name of the brightest star. He also runs a separate entity that manages communications for India’s largest conglomerate.


9. Pitchfork Partners is launched – Sunil Gautam and Jaideep Shergill continued their 15-year young partnership by stepping out of the firm they founded and sold to create Pitchfork Partners.


10. Volkswagen fiasco – The Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the German automaker had covertly installed a “defeat device” that switched on during emissions tests, making the vehicles appear low-emission. Can’t get worse.


11. Maggi recall – Nestle India had its worst year ever when food laboratory tests found seven times the legal levels of lead in its flagship brand. All hell broke loose. The rest is history. Maggi is back on the shop shelves now.


12. First global conference on PR in Emerging Economies – Public Relations Society of Kenya hosted the first world conference on PR in emerging economies in Nairobi in November with the support of the Global Alliance.


13. Tiny Indian firms make big waves at SABRES – Two Indian firms Spag Asia and Advantage Media made waves at Miami during the Global Sabres by winning the best new consultancy and a Top 40 campaign award respectively.


14. SCoRe is launched – India’s first school of Public Relations was launched with an angel investor on board. The school describes itself as the world’s smallest start-up. It is set-up in Gurgaon with plans to expand to Mumbai.


15. PRAXIS 2015 is India’s biggest gathering of PR professionals – The fourth edition that took place in Mysore in September is arguably the largest gathering of PR professionals in India with all the Top 20 firms in attendance.


With this, we bid adieu to 2015. See you in 2016 with a list of 16 Indian professionals to watch out for in the year ahead.


Amith Prabhu’s column on PR appears every Monday. The views expressed here are his own. Prabhu is associated with Praxis, SCoRe and was invited to speak at the Nairobi conference


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