Following GroupM’s announcement of a global merger of Essence and MediaCom to form EssenceMediacom earlier in 2022, GroupM India has elevated Navin Khemka as CEO and Sonali Malaviya as chief strategy and transformation officer for EssenceMediacom South Asia. Khemka and Malaviya will drive the integration of the digital and data-driven DNA of Essence with MediaCom's multichannel, audience planning, and strategic media expertise, facilitating client growth globally.
The duo will be based out of Gurgaon. Khemka will report to Prasanth Kumar, CEO – GroupM South Asia and Rupert McPetrie, CEO – EssenceMediacom APAC. Malaviya will report into Khemka. Both will continue to be a part of GroupM South Asia Exco.
Commenting on the development, Kumar said, “Both Navin and Sonali are inspirational leaders and under their leadership for MediaCom and Essence, they have been consistent in their efforts for the transformation of agency businesses. With both agencies coming together we all are very excited and confident that we will continue to strengthen our client relationships and continue to focus on our people and capabilities. I congratulate both Navin and Sonali on their new roles and I am certain that this will be a formidable force in bringing some of the best work for our clients.”
McPetrie added, “The appointment of Navin as CEO and Sonali as Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer for EssenceMediacom South Asia provides us with very strong leadership and direction as we build our new agency of the future and transform the work we do for our clients. Both have a great track record, both have a firm belief in putting people first, and together will bring new growth to our client's businesses.”
On this new role, Khemka said, “I am looking forward to this transformational role for leading the merged agency of Essence and MediaCom. With our best-in-class data and digital-led solutions, I am confident that we will be able to future-proof our talent and offer new services. Thanks to all our clients for their continued trust and partnership. Our clients can now look forward to the sophistication from EssenceMediacom that is required to succeed in the new era.”
Khemka has over 25 years of experience across networks, working on most aspirational brands. In his previous roles in GroupM, he was part of a Mindshare team and was also actively involved in the merger of Maxus and MEC to form Wavemaker.
On her promotion, Malaviya said, “Clients today expect media to be at the frontline of transformation - delivering rapid, scalable business change in an era of new possibilities. Every day platforms evolve, creators emerge, and communities are formed. A flywheel of change is being powered at the intersection of consumers, content, and technology. I am looking forward to partnering with our highly talented teams and driving that change & achieving growth and transformation in a way that serves our consumers and clients - it is the best time to work in media!”
She has over 20 years of experience in management and media across industries and markets, including senior roles at Mindshare, PHD and MediaCom in multiple markets. Malaviya came back to the GroupM family in 2018 where she was leading the agency’s Google business in India and Southeast Asia as senior vice president, client services. In 2021, she was elevated to MD of Essence India.