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Devika Bulchandani enters the club of Indian-origin CEOs leading global companies

The Amritsar-born executive was announced as the global CEO of Ogilvy.

By  Storyboard18Sep 9, 2022 10:20 PM
Devika Bulchandani enters the club of Indian-origin CEOs leading global companies
Bulchandani joins the long list of Indian-origin leaders at the helm of multinational conglomerates as CEOs including former Reckitt and new Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan, Chanel’s Leena Nair, Twitter’s Parag Agarwal and Sundar Pichai at Google.(Images: Moneycontrol)

WPP-owned global advertising company Ogilvy appointed Devika Bulchandani as its new global chief executive officer.

Bulchandani was born in Amritsar and became the world's most famous ad agency Ogilvy's CEO this week, following the departure of a former Deloitte hand, Andy Main, who joined Ogilvy in 2020.

In her new role, Bulchandani will be responsible for all aspects of the creative network’s business across 131 offices in 93 countries and she will also join WPP’s Executive Committee. She most recently served as global president and CEO of Ogilvy North America.

Prior to joining Ogilvy, Bulchandani spent 26 years at McCann in various leadership roles including President of McCann North America. She was the driving force behind Mastercard’s long-running “Priceless” campaign as well as “True Name,” a first-of-its-kind feature launched in 2019 that empowers transgender and non-binary people to display their chosen name on their Mastercard.

Known for ideas that capture the cultural zeitgeist, Bulchandani also helped launch “Fearless Girl,” an iconic and beloved symbol of women’s equality; the campaign became one of the most awarded campaigns in the history of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Indian-origin global CEOs

Bulchandani also joins the long list of Indian-origin leaders at the helm of multinational conglomerates as CEOs including Chanel’s Leena Nair, Twitter’s Parag Agarwal and Sundar Pichai at Google.

Take a look at this growing club of Indian-origin leaders running global companies and brands. (This is not a comprehensive list.)

Devika Bulchandani, Ogilvy

Laxman Narasimhan - Starbucks

Ivan Menezes - Diageo

Parag Agrawal - Twitter

Satya Nadella - Microsoft

Sundar Pichai - Alphabet

Leena Nair - Chanel

Arvind Krishna - IBM

Raghu Raghuram- VMWare

Shantanu Narayen - Adobe

Sameer Suneja - Perfetti Van Melle

Raj Subramaniam - FedEx

Sandeep Kataria - Bata

George Kurian - Netapp

Thomas Kurian - Google Cloud

Vasant Narasimhan - Novartis

Puneet Renjen - Deloitte

CS Venkatakrishnan - Barclays

Sanjay Mehrotra - Micron Technology

55-year-old consumer-industry veteran with roots in Pune, Laxman Narasimhan will take over as CEO of Starbucks and was the chief executive of FMCG major Reckitt. He will also be a member of the Board of Directors on April 1, 2023, stepping into the big shoes of outgoing CEO Howard Schultz, who built the US coffee chain into a global empire.

What makes Indian managers shine?

Moneycontrol interacted with senior corporate leaders, leadership mentors and professors who have served in both Indian and international markets to find out more.

The report quoted Raj Narayan, who retired as EVP and CHRO from watch manufacturer Titan last year and is currently a mentor and coach with years of international experience in talent and leadership development in Europe and Asia Pacific.

Narayan spotlighted three qualities. He said, "the ability to handle ambiguity and find clarity; to think and act synchronously and to quickly settle into new and strange environments without losing our own identity -- are distinct about Indian leaders that help them succeed and do well on the international stage."

“We have enough opportunity to develop and hone all these skills in the multicultural and diverse milieu we have in India and to which many are exposed at home,” he told Moneycontrol.

Career Coach Sawan Kapoor told Moneycontrol "...we Indians are more battle ready, this positions us as some of the best CEOs on the planet, adding in a lighter vein, “The ultimate goal of any global organisation's founder must be to eventually have their company run by a CEO from India or of Indian origin."

First Published on Sep 9, 2022 2:04 PM