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Leo Burnett India CEO Arvind Sharma exits after 30 years, Saurabh Varma replaces him

Arvind Sharma

Arvind Sharma

Arvind Sharma, the chairman and CEO of Leo Burnett India, is leaving after a 30-year spell with the agency.

His next move is unclear.

Leo Burnett has stated that Sharma is leaving to “pursue other business interests outside of the industry”.

He is being replaced by Leo Burnett’s regional head of strategy Saurabh Varma, who will move from Singapore to India to take on the CEO role.

The move is effective 1 November. Nitish Mukherjee, director on the board of the company, will manage the transition.

Tom Bernardin, Leo Burnett’s global CEO and chairman, said in a press release: “We would like to take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude and appreciation to Arvind Sharma. He has worked tirelessly over the past 30 years to build Leo Burnett into one of India’s leading creative agencies and laid down a solid foundation for the agency to progress to the next level.”

“During his tenure, Arvind built a stellar client base that includes blue chip multinational and local clients and nurtured some of the brightest stars within the Indian advertising industry today. Though he remains available for his advice and counsel, we bid farewell to Arvind today, in his official capacity, with our very best wishes and as a dear friend.”

Saurabh Varma

Saurabh Varma

Arvind Sharma added: “I had a very long and fruitful run as the leader of Leo Burnett in India Subcontinent. As I approached the company-defined age of 58, I would like to start something totally new. I look back at my 30 years at the agency and 21 years of leading it with a great deal of satisfaction.”

Commenting on his new role, and returning to his native India, Varma said: “India is home to me, this new role is coming full circle to where it all began. Over the years, I have always kept a keen eye on the developments in India and in some ways, I felt like I have never left.”

“I look forward to coming back with a fresh perspective gained from my time away and bring the best learnings of Leo Burnett network to India,” he said.

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