Mindshare has beefed up its leadership team in Asia by elevated Shankar Rajagopal (pictured), CEO of Mindshare and m/SIX Vietnam, to chief client officer of Mindshare APAC. In his new role which he will assume on 12 July, he will be relocated to Mindshare’s regional headquarters in Singapore, from Ho Chi Minh City, where he has been based for over four years.
Taking over the reins in Vietnam is Ashish Thukral (pictured centre), who is now MD of Mindshare and m/SIX. Thukral will relocate from Singapore. In this role, he works closely with clients to deliver their growth agenda by navigating the ever-expanding and complex data-driven world of media. According to Mindshare, Thukral believes in winning by investing in people’s training and developmental needs as well as deploying new and relevant tools and systems to help clients continuously differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
At the same time, Mindshare has brought on board Preeti Mascarenhas (pictured right) as the new head of strategy and product for APAC. In this role, she will be focusing on building Good Growth strategies that will positively impact clients’ businesses as well as consumers. She’s committed to driving a clear vision by building the culture, communities and platform intelligence across APAC for Mindshare.
Rajagopal will report to Helen McRae, CEO of Mindshare APAC, while Thukral will report to both McRae and Himanshu Shekhar, CEO of GroupM Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. Meanwhile, Mascarenhas will report to Rohan Lightfoot, chief growth officer of Mindshare APAC. The appointments are part of the plan to accelerate the agency’s business proposition, “Good Growth”, in the region.
Rajagopal is a media veteran who has spent 13 years in the agency. Additionally, he holds two decades of experience leading client accounts from Unilever to L’Oréal and HSBC, as well as helming business divisions in Singapore, Malaysia, China, and Vietnam. According to his LinkedIn, he joined Mindshare Kuala Lumpur as its director in 2009, where he headed global accounts such as Unilever and HSBC for the Malaysian market. In 2014, he assumed the role of managing director in Shanghai, where he led a 120-member L’Oréal China team for four years. Shortly after in 2018, he was appointed as the leader of Mindshare Vietnam for over two years, his LinkedIn said.
“I am looking forward to my new role – the fourth within Mindshare – where I will focus on driving the business transformation agenda for our clients in the region. I am excited to lead the Mindshare Asia Pacific client leader community and will partner our account leads to continue nurturing our client relationships,” Rajagopal explained.
Meanwhile, Thukral was most recently the managing partner for Unilever, where he led the global strategy and content for Mindshare’s long-term client. Bringing with him extensive brand-side experience from Standard Chartered and Diageo, he has devoted more than 16 years to the agency across Asia and Africa. He has also led agency client accounts including Levi’s, Nike, Lenovo, Nestle, and GSK, among others.
Thukral assumed the role of leader in Mindshare from November 2013 to July 2018, where his primary responsibility was to drive the growth agenda for clients through a keen understanding of their business and marketing problems, designing, planning and executing solutions. During his stint as leader, he worked with brands such as Nestle, Wyeth, Ford and Pepsico, according to his LinkedIn profile. Additionally, in July 2018, he took on the role of senior director for two years.
At the same time, Mascarenhas is no stranger to Mindshare, with her latest appointment marketing her return to the agency after previously working at dentsu Singapore as chief strategy officer. In Mindshare, she spent eight years as the GSK APAC lead, handling numerous client accounts and winning new businesses across the CPG, FMCG, fintech and edutech sectors. Prior to Mindshare, she helmed Carat as its business director for two years, where she oversaw media planning duties, according to her LinkedIn.
McRae said: “Rajagopal, Thukral, and Mascarenhas boast excellent track records driving Good Growth and award-winning innovation across APAC. These are some of our brightest talents whose intimate knowledge of the region and deep domain expertise set them apart as forerunners in the ad tech industry.” She is confident that they will continue to deliver exemplary work for its clients in their new roles.
Separately, Mindshare’s parent group, GroupM Vietnam, recently elevated media agency veteran Nitin Kumar to chief investment officer in June. In his new role, he leads the delivery of GroupM’s Responsible Investment Framework in Vietnam, which entails building a diverse, sustainable and high-quality media ecosystem that its clients can invest in confidently now and in the future.
He is currently reporting to both Himanshu Shekhar, CEO of GroupM Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as Anita Munro, GroupM’s chief investment officer for Southeast and North Asia, who also chairs the APAC Investment Committee. Succeeding Huyen Trinh, Kumar is now based in Ho Chi Minh.
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