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Varun Channa returns to JWT as Managing Partner for PO1

Channa replaces Babita Baruah who moves to another role within the group. Channa will work from Gurgaon office and report to Tarun Rai, CEO, JWT South Asia

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | March 9, 2017

Varun-Channa Varun Channa

J Walter Thompson India has appointed Varun Channa as Senior Vice-President and Managing Partner for JWT’s business unit Power of One (PO1) that handles a large number of PepsiCo’s flagship brands. He replaces Babita Baruah who moves to another role within the group. Channa will be based in Gurgaon and will report Tarun Rai, CEO, JWT South Asia.

An alumnus of Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Channa has over two decades of experience in marketing, advertising and media. He started his career at JWT and was an integral part of its growth for over a decade. Previously, as Managing Director at Mindshare, Kuala Lumpur, he led the transformation of the organisation from being perceived as a ‘traditional media’ agency to being a tech and data savvy company.

Prior to that, as Marketing Director at Danone India and South Asia, he worked on the market entry strategy for Danone in the dairy category for India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. He continued in his role as Marketing Director when he moved to Danone Indonesia in 2009. Channa brings to the table his robust global experience across a multitude of categories comprising beverages, dairy, personal wash, consumer electronics, durables and media.

Channa is an innovative and digital-age thinker with a track record of turning around businesses and delivering results under complex situations.

Tarun Rai Tarun Rai

Commenting on the movements, Rai said, “I’ve known Channa for a long time and respect him for his passion, his leadership skills and for his positive outlook to life and work. For over a decade he was with us at JWT Mumbai and contributed to building his clients’ business and to the growth of our office. He went on to gain experience in marketing – in India and South-east Asia. He rounded it off with a stint at Mindshare. It’s great to have Channa return to advertising and to JWT with the experience that he has gained across marketing and media. I am sure his passion and his drive will propel the wonderful PepsiCo brands we handle to greater success.”

Rai said Baruah, “Baruah has had a remarkable career with us. She has worked across many JWT offices and has brought the same energy and commitment to all her various roles. Her stint as head of our PepsiCo business has been exceptional. She has always led from the front and is a fantastic leader. I am extremely proud that she is moving on to another senior role within the group. I wish her all the very best."

Commenting on his new role, Channa said, “It’s great to be back at JWT to work on the most exciting brands in the world and lead a fiercely passionate team. I hope to bring my varied experience across markets and across functions to help make the PepsiCo brands and business stronger.”

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