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We will have around 150 employees by the end of first year: Pratap Bose

The former COO of DDB Mudra Group is set to formally launch his ‘communications conglomerate’ by June 15. Mandeep Malhotra, along with over 20 ex-employees of DDB Mudra Group, will be part of the set-up

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | May 13, 2015

Pratap Bose Pratap Bose

The wheel has come a full circle. Pratap Bose, former COO, DDB Mudra Group, is all set to formally launch his ‘communications conglomerate’ by June 15, 2015. He will be joined by former colleagues at DDB Mudra, including Mandeep Malhotra, who has just quit as President of DDB MudraMax heading the media buying division, out-of-home (OOH), experiential business and retail.

Bose, who had quit DDB Mudra in April 2014 after a stint of six years, had a non-compete clause with the company that ended on December 31, 2014. His exit from the agency came after Madhukar Kamath, Group CEO and MD, DDB Mudra Group, was given a four-year extension. In private conversations as well as in interviews to the media, Bose had made it amply that he felt he was let down as he had been promised the top job in times to come. Bose was not prepared to wait for more years.

Elaborating on the launch of the new agency, Bose explained, “While most full service agencies offer a plethora of services for the clients, there is still a lack of a unified offering. We intend to fill the need gap by building or acquiring competencies across all verticals, including creative, media buying, digital, retail, OOH, shopper marketing, branded content, etc.”

Even though the agency is set to start with a team of around 30 people, Bose informed that they intended to acquire smaller specialist agencies to gain capabilities. “Moreover, with the roster of clients who are expected to come on board, we will have around 150 employees by the end of the first year,” he added.

Bose confirmed that most of the exits from DDB Mudra Group were for joining his venture. He also noted that the team was not restricted to former employees of DDB Mudra Group, and that employees from several other agencies were also joining the venture.

Answering a question about the possibility of Mudra’s clients moving with the teams, he replied, “Communications is a people’s business, and people tend to work with people they are comfortable with, and it may be expected given the significant exit of employees from that agency.”

Speaking about building the agency brand in the existing clutter of specialist and full service agencies, Bose explained, “Agency brands cannot be built in a matter of six or seven months or on the basis of a handful of campaigns. It takes a minimum of a couple of years to set up and build the brand’s values.”

Bose informed that the agency, which will operate out of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore for the first six months, would be built on the tenets of a technology-led communications agency with capabilities across verticals to solve all communication needs of a client under a single roof.

Way forward after exits at DDB Mudra

Madhukar Kamath Madhukar Kamath

Meanwhile, downplaying the recent spate of exits from the agency, including the resignations of Mandeep Malhotra and Chief Youth Marketer Samyak Chakrabarty, Madhukar Kamath said, “The DDB Mudra Group is an organisation of 1,000 people, across 10 agencies. And this is excluding the 10,000 field marketing agents we have on ground for various clients. There have been a few resignations in only one of our agencies, that is, OOH, which forms only 10-12 per cent of our group revenue. I look at this as a minor blip which we are very well equipped to take care of. We remain unaffected as long as the core team is intact. If there are any ridiculous claims that the DDB Mudra Group can be affected by pulling a few people from just one business, it’s a gross generalisation, something to have a good laugh about.”

Noting that every year, out of their total strength of 1,000 employees, the agency has a 15 per cent attrition rate, Kamath pointed out that this was across different levels, of which 5 per cent was forced attrition, entirely based on performance. “Currently, we are hiring around 120 people across the DDB Mudra Group. This includes DDB Mudra West, North, and South & East, Rapp, Remedy, 22Feet Tribal, TracyLocke and our three DDB MudraMax businesses (Media, Out-of-Home and Experiential). When there is such an encouraging influx of talent, there is no need to talk about exits,” he added.

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