VMLY&R India hires L&K Saatchi & Saatchi’s Anil K Nair as CEO

Anil K Nair has left L&K Saatchi & Saatchi to join VMLY&R India as its CEO.

Nair was CEO digital and managing partner at L&K Saatchi & Saatchi. He is not to be confused with the similarly named but unrelated Anil Nair who continues to be CEO and managing partner at L&K Saatchi & Saatchi.

Based out of Mumbai, Nair will report to the Singapore-based VMLY&R co-CEO Tripti Lochan.

Nair was part of the founding team at the Indian branch of London-based indie St Luke’s in 2002, which subsequently morphed into Law & Kenneth.

He is credited with being part of the management team that built Law & Kenneth into a strong independent agency which merged in 2014 with the Publicis Groupe-owned Saatchi& Saatchi.

Asked about his decision to leave by Mumbrella, Nair said: “It was an opportunity not just with VMLY&R but to be part of the changing landscape. There’s a fine line between what agencies do and some of the other offerings, be it consultants, publishers or content creators.

“I felt VMLY&R was better placed to manage that shift. As agencies, we have traditionally offered a certain sort of solution.

“What was interesting was being part of the connected consumer experience offering, where creative is just one aspect. Everything is intertwined from social to commerce to online to offline. I believe VMLY&R is doing great work globally in the space and that pushed my decision.”

Y&R has had a chequered history in India, having spent the bulk of its existence as a minority stakeholder in Indian ad agency Rediffusion. In the lead up to its merger with VML, Y&R relinquished its stake in Rediffusion last year.

Asked whether acquiring business featured prominently in his list of priorities, Nair said: “VMLY&R is not exactly new. We have a bunch of clients we are currently working with like ICICI bank and (Indian FMCG) Marico.

“It is a well kept secret. My primary job is to unlock the secret and let the world know we have been in the market for a while and are doing solid work across a set of brands.

“The new connected consumer experience offering needs to be evangelised.”

Speaking about Nair’s appointment, Tripti Lochan said: “We are committed to cultivating truly connected brands that generate real ROI for our clients and their clients.

“Anil comes to us with the right vision and experience to make this happen, marrying strategy with an understanding of brand, digital and commerce.

“He boasts an exemplary record for driving agency excellence and innovation, while exhibiting a deep understanding of the Indian marketplace. This is an exciting time for VMLY&R as we continue to flourish in India, and I can think of no one better to lead the way.”

Nair joins during a spate of hiring at VMLY&R India which has seen the appointment of  Kevin Lobo as executive creative director and Sujay Kar as commerce group lead, VMLY&R SEA & India. Lobo moved from Leo Burnett and Kar from telecom operator Jio.


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