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BBDO India appoints Suraja Kishore as CEO

Kishore joins from McCann Mumbai where he was EVP and General Manager, and National Planning Head at Truth Central, McCann’s global thought leadership unit. The position was vacant since Ajai Jhala left the organisation in May 2018

Suraja Kishore

BBDO India has announced the appointment of Suraja Kishore as CEO. Most recently Kishore was EVP and General Manager at McCann Mumbai, and National Planning Head at Truth Central, McCann’s global thought leadership unit. Kishore’s role commenced Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

The CEO position was vacant since Ajai Jhala left the organisation in May last year.

Kishore has been with McCann since 2013, initially joining the agency network as Executive Planning Director; soon after, he was handpicked to lead the McCann Mumbai office.

Prior to McCann, Kishore worked with Publicis Worldwide, Lowe Lintas and Mudra DDB. He has 21 years of experience developing creative strategies, building partnerships and establishing exciting approaches to developing campaigns.

Under his leadership McCann has built a reputation, winning ‘Agency of the Year’ at the local Effie’s in 2018 and 2019, as well as numerous accolades at the APAC Effie’s and WARC awards.

His client list includes major brands such as Unilever, Marico, P&G, Nestle, Godrej, Tata, Idea Cellular and Citibank, to name a few. He has been at the helm of some of the most memorable campaigns including ‘What an Idea, Sirji’ for Idea Cellular and ‘Tata Tea- Jaago Re’.

 A graduate of TISS – Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai – Kishore nurtures his interest in academics as a visiting faculty with reputable management and advertising institutes. He conceived and executed India’s first creative programme with a specialisation in copywriting and art direction at the MICA (Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad), is one of the founding members of APG (Account Planning Group) India, and a visiting faculty for Planning Boot Camp at Miami ad school, Mumbai.

Commenting on Kishore’s appointment, Jean Paul Burge, Chairman and CEO, BBDO Asia, said, “We welcome Suraja Kishore to BBDO as we start a new chapter of great Indian creativity – BBDO India 2.0. This is what will make our clients’ businesses stronger as we continue to build BBDO India into one of the most influential agencies in the world. Suraja is all that we are looking for in a leader. His appreciation and passion for creative cultures will mesh well with our focus on The Work. The Work. The Work.”

Speaking about his appointment and new role, Kishore said, “What got me really excited about this role is that JP (Jean Paul Burge) and Josy were not trying to fill a particular position; they were looking for someone who can transform and grow BBDO India. I felt that the last ten years have been a great run for BBDO India, but what got us here won’t get us there. In fact, I believe it’s our focus on share of the future rather than just share of the market that will drive growth for clients and us. One of the most important ingredients for success is ‘chemistry between key stakeholders’ and that is what I discovered with JP and Josy. Shaping the future is very much like love; you have to have deep faith together to make it happen.”

Josy Paul

Josy Paul, Chairman and CCO, BBDO India, said, “It has taken us more than nine months to find Suraja. In our journey to find a suitable partner, we met some outstanding candidates. With Suraja, it was love at first sight. When JP (Jean Paul Burge) and I first met Suraja, we knew he had the emotional energy and strategic depth that comes with great leadership. His clear vision about the future of brands and demand in an age of evolving media and tech interface is so attractive. It felt like he is not just a CEO, he is also our 'chief evolution officer'."

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