Amith Prabhu: 16 people to watch out in 2016 in Indian Public Relations

04 Jan,2016

By Amith Prabhu


This list has an equal number of men and women in senior leadership roles in no particular order. These are professionals to watch out for in the year ahead. They are achievers in their own right.


a) Sonia Dhawan – Sonia heads communications at Paytm which is making waves for all the right reasons. Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharms is in the news. How they manage 2016 will be interesting.

b) Farheen Akhtar – As head of Public Relations at Snapdeal, Farheen has to manage the brand and its co-founders who are poster boys. Given the recent controversy around their brand ambassador, it will be a year to watch out.

c) Anand Subramanian – As one of the younger communications heads, Anand has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. The business Ola is in is prone to issues – both with consumers and regulatory authorities.

d) Omgita Awasthi – Omgita’s unique designation as Head of Founders Communications at Inmobi puts her in a unique position at this startup which is one of the few unicorns that is profitable.

e) Naina Parnaik – The recent troubles at this Unicorn have had a direct impact on Naina with laid off employees making references to her. Having a social media savvy boss at Zomato may be helpful when crisis hits.

f) Karun Arya – As Uber’s corporate communications head for South Asia. Karun will play an important role as the world’s largest Unicorn makes inroads into more cities in the sub-continent.

g) Ishteyaque Amjad – Ishteyaque replaces Deepak Jolly who was promoted to a business role at Coca Cola India. Moving from Cargill in Singapore is indeed an interesting transition for this former Indian Army Captain.

h) Sarah Gideon – Sarah heads communications at IT bellwether Infosys and has managed the communications around the leadership transition in the past year very well. She comes from the first family of Indian Public Relations.

i) Pradeep Wadhwa – Pradeep moves into a regional role at PepsiCo with a remit that includes several countries. Having spent over five years heading communications for the Indian operation at the cola major he has his role cut out.

j) Meenu Handa – Meenu moves on from Amazon India to Google India less than three years after she joined the ecommerce major as its first communications head in India. Google India has made a smart choice.

k) Rachana Panda – The Chief Communication Officer and Citizenship Leader, GE India is a cool designation to have. In this role she is part of the leadership at this conglomerate which has always been bullish on India.

l) Gayatri Rath – Microsoft India’s Director of Communications and Citizenship has her hands full given the global CEO is of Indian origin and makes frequent trips to India. The brand has a great reputation in India.

m) Vinod Moorthy – the only consultancy-based professional to feature in this list. Vinod made an interesting transition of 2015 by moving to Rediffusion Edelman as its leader. This unit manages public relations for all Tata companies in India.

n) Pradeep Rajasekharan – Pradeep is one of the few India based professionals who looks at communications in three continents at Franklin Templeton. His stint at Brunswick London and Dubai certainly adds value to his role.

o) Anthony Rose – Antony is not in active communications any longer after moving on from Walmart Asia Pacific late last year. He is building an enterprise focused on people and events that seems like a force to reckon with

p) Subhamoy Das – Subhamoy is one of India’s veteran bloggers with two successful blogs to his credit. This former journalist is back at Deloitte India as head of brand and communications.

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