Cheil India chief strategist Sonal Narain takes head of planning role at Wieden + Kennedy



Cheil India’s chief strategist, Sonal Narain, is leaving the advertising agency after only 10 months to become head of planning at Wieden + Kennedy India.

Narain joined Cheil’s Gurgaon office in mid-2015 after a seven year career at Ogilvy in Singapore where she was regarded as one of the agency’s brightest strategists, with a gold IPA Effectiveness award for the I Quit campaign for Health Promotion Board among a number of accolades.

At Wieden, she will work on clients including indigo airlines, Nike and Royal Enfield.

Narain started her career as a planner at Publicis Ambience in India before moving to McCann. She has also worked on the media agency side of the business with a year at Mindshare Singapore.

She joined Ogilvy in 2008, where she stayed except for a four-month stint at Iris Worldwide Singapore before moving back.

Narain will be replaced at Cheil by experienced senior planner Neeraj Bassi, who also worked at Ogilvy, in Gurgaon.

Bassi will directly replace her as chief strategy officer with responsibility for the planning and strategy of the agency across all its divisions.

He joins from consultancy Coffee&Chocolate which promotes itself as the “catalyst at the brief definition stage”.

baasi1Prior to that, Bassi spend six years at Ogilvy & Mather, the last four as president of planning.

He has worked on a number of high profile campaigns for brands including Coca-Cola, Cadbury, Voltas and BMW.

Cheil South-West Asia group president Shiv Sethuraman, who thanked Narain for her contribution, said the company was going for “massive acceleration” in 2016.

“I am delighted to have Neeraj on board at this critical juncture in our evolution,” he said. “His passion for integrated communication combined with his gravitas and deep knowledge of brands and consumers in the Indian context have impressed us.”

Bassi added: “We need a completely new approach to communication. You need to think like an entrepreneur and keep on redefining the communication paradigm.”


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