IPG Mediabrands India’s Initiative has elevated Vaishali Verma to the post of CEO, which was lying vacant for over two years after Anamika Mehta was moved to a role in central Mediabrands.
Prior to this, Verma and Premjeet Sodhi were leading the agency as COO. With Sodhi’s departure, Verma will oversee the entire India operations as CEO of the agency and will report to Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands India.
Will Anstee, Regional President, Initiative, APAC, said, “I couldn’t be more excited to have Vaishali steer and deliver on our Initiative proposition in India. Her passion for the craft, her consistent high performance and the conscientious way she approaches every task, make her the natural choice for the role.”
Talking about the appointment, Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands India, said, “What makes this truly special is that Vaishali is an insider and has grown from strength to strength in the group over the last 20 years. I am hugely proud to have such superlative talent from within steering the ship. She embodies IPG’s culture and values and is an inspiring leader. I couldn’t have found a better person to lead Initiative Media.”
Armed with over 22 years of experience in the area of media, advertising and marketing, Verma has been a strong force in helping brands connect better with consumers. Her work reflects a deep understanding of the evolution of Indian consumers backed with solid research-based planning. She is a talent magnet and has groomed some of the best young talent in the industry.
Verma added, “The advertising business is going through the most interesting times and it has never been more difficult than now to get consumer attention. Fortunately there is a better way of building audience relationship by being as relevant as possible and at Initiative we use culture as the bridge to stay relevant. Culture forms the canvas and the fabric of how we lead our lives. We help brands grow through culture by distributing ideas, content and conversation. At Initiative, we have the best of the global and local clients, the finest talent in the industry and cutting-edge media tools. I think we have an opportunity to help shape the future of how brands engage with consumers. To be a part of this opportunity, to shape it with some of the sharpest minds in the business, is what excites me.”
An MICA alumni, Verma started her career in advertising as a media planner with Mudra Communications in 1995 charting the media strategies of brands like McDonalds, Samsung and Nestle. She then moved to Universal McCann in 1997 as a senior media planner and worked with brands like General Motors, Reckitt Benckiser, Gillette, Madura Garments and ICI Paints. She joined Lodestar UM as general manager and handled brands like Wipro Consumer Care, Intel, ING group, Madura Garments. In 2014, Verma was named the COO of Initiative and she has been overseeing the agency’s entire business in Southern India with the likes of Amazon Seller Service, MRF, Jockey, 3M etc. leading a team of 100+ strong media professionals.