An all-new top deck at DDB Mudra…

30 Jun,2017


By A Correspondent

Starting tomorrow, July 1, the offices of the DDB Mudra Group will have an all-new top deck. The process began on April 1, when Vineet Gupta, earlier the Chief Digital Officer was appointed as Group CEO (Designate) and Aditya Kanthy, earlier Chief Strategy Officer was appointed Group Managing Director (Designate). Effective tomorrow,  Gupta and Kanthy will formally take over as Group CEO and Group Managing Director respectively. Giving them company will be a new National Creative Director in Rahul Mathew and Brijesh Jacob as Chief Creative Technologist. Jacob will continue to be Joint Managing Director at 22feet Tribal Worldwide. Meanwhile, Madhukar Kamath will stay on as Executive Chairman till December 31 and Sonal Dabral will continue to be Chairman and Chief Content Officer till September 30.


I still think I am 28: Sonal DabralSonal Dabral

So what precipitated Sonal Dabral’s decision to move on from the DDB Mudra group? After all, he has been – other than Madhukar Kamath – the face of the agency, and a very celebrated creative person in the Indian advertising industry.

Just recently present in at least two international award events, Dabral is one of the few Indian creative honchos who has had a long leadership experience at an international level. His past has seen him hosting television shows, and his interests include film direction and the finer things in advertising, honed as they have been at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

Late on Thursday, Dabral had tweeted to a contact: “Bravo! Live your dream…” So when MxMIndia spoke with Dabral hours after the story was officially out, we asked whether we could say the same to him now. He said it’s been in the offing for a while has been “thinking about it for some time”.

Dabral is tightlipped about his plans post September and will announce them in a fortnight to a month – perhaps sooner. We then asked him the sensitive question: did the entry of the new regime at DDB Mudra lead him to quitting the group. The fact that they are much younger than him, with lesser experience and of course there’s a change of guard in the agency with Madhukar Kamath also moving on? “The new team is excellent and I have worked very closely with them – both Adithya and Vineet.” It’s got nothing to do with their taking on larger roles, he said. And when we asked the same question in a different way, he pointed to being not being fazed by these things. “I still think I am 28!”

A mail sent to all DDB Mudra employees on Friday (today) records Dabral’s contribution to shaping the group and “bringing it to where it currently stands”, adding: “His humility and passion reflects in the work we do…. I don’t think we can thank him enough.” The next line in the mail refers to the transition: “He has been fully invested in this decision and I have no doubt that he will provide all the guidance and support…”

Whatever be the reasons for the parting of ways, both Dabral and the rest of the DDB Mudra dispensation have ensured it’ll be smooth and happy.

Meanwhile, what will Agra boy Sonal Dabral do next? There are some who do know what it’s gonna be. We don’t. Now will be do an ‘agracadabra’, as is Twitter handle? Watch this space.



The fresh change  has happened with Sonal Dabral, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, DDB Mudra Group, announcing a transition in the group’s creative leadership.  To facilitate a seamless transition, both Jacob and Mathew will be working closely with Dabral until end September 2017, after which he will pass the baton. It may be recalled as per the earlier announcement, Kamath will continue to work closely with Gupta and Kanthy as Executive Chairman of the DDB Mudra Group till end December, 2017.

Both Mathew and Jacob will jointly lead the overall creative product of the Group and will report to Gupta.

In his new role, Mathew will be responsible for the creative product of the DDB Mudra West while Jacob will be responsible for the creative mandate of the DDB Mudra North, DDB Mudra South, DDB MudraMax (Media, OOH and Experiential) and 22feet Tribal Worldwide. As mentioned earlier, this will be in addition to Jacob’s existing role as the Joint Managing Director, 22feet Tribal Worldwide.

Speaking on the transition, Sonal Dabral said in a statement: “I have enjoyed my five years in the DDB Mudra Group, working with a great young team here. I’m happy that in the past few years, we were able to put together a strong creative team with able leaders in all the different entities and offices of the Group. As I move on from the DDB Mudra Group to different creative challenges, I’m excited to announce that Rahul Mathew and Brijesh Jacob will now take on the mantle of leading the creative at the Group. Both Rahul and Brij are very experienced creative leaders and will make a strong combination to lead the Group. Where Rahul brings his storytelling and advertising experience to the table, Brij’s experience with technology and new media, which comes from him leading 22feet Tribal Worldwide for over a decade; makes them a strong combination for any client’s business. I will work closely with both of them over the next few months, to ensure a smooth transition. I wish Rahul, Brij and DDB Mudra Group all the very best.”

Dabral had joined DDB Mudra with much fanfare in March 2012.

A little about Mathew: He joined DDB Mudra West in 2014 as the Creative Head. Since then, he has worked closely with Dabral and Rajiv Sabnis, Managing Partner, DDB Mudra West to innovate the agency’s product and to create work for the agency’s diverse client roster including brands like Big Bazaar, Century Ply, Godrej, Lipton, Johnson and Johnson, Volkswagen and Symphony to name a few

And about Jacob: He started with Rediffusion Y&R and after being ECD at Grey, in 2009 he co-founded 22feet, which was later acquired by DDB Mudra.


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