What Umesh Shrikhande's appointment means to TapRoot

Umesh Shrikhande's appointment as CEO of Dentsu India Group controlled TapRoot India is a clear statement of intent - and of the direction that TapRoot India will take in the next few years. What Umesh Shrikhandes appointment means to TapRoot

The first signal is that TapRoot is getting 'organised'. While co-founders Agnello Dias and Santosh Padhi continue to attempt to raise the bar on the agency's creative product, Shrikhande, thanks to his experience as CEO of WPP-owned Contract Advertising, is the ideal candidate for overseeing the nuts and bolts of the business and keeping an eye on the financial health of the agency.

There's another signal that Shrikhande's appointment sends out. His last assignment, an 8 year stint at Contract, saw him being the foil to Ravi Deshpande's creative abilities. Shrikhande stayed (relatively) low profile, allowing Deshpande to be the 'face' of the agency and allowing the agency to be seen as 'creative'. At TapRoot, his role will doubtless be similar, allowing Dias and Padhi to bask in the sun. More importantly, there is no threat of a battle between the suits and creatives (as is being witnessed at some agencies) - this will be a story of a peaceful, cooperative coexistence.

With the appointment of Shrikhande (and, earlier, the appointment of Sameer Aasht as head - strategy and business), TapRoot shrugs off the tag of being a 'creative' shop, which certainly were when they began. With CEO and a strategy head in place, TapRoot now has most of the empty cells in the organization chart filled in.

What these appointments do is to allow the creative duo of Dias and Padhi, the raison d'etre of the agency, to devote as much time to the creative output, while leaving client servicing, and, to a large extent, the strategic planning load to Shrikhande and Aasht. With the agency's major clients now divided between Mumbai and Delhi, Dias and Padhi, while they rack up their frequent flier miles, must be finding the work-load close to back-breaking.

And the pressure isn't ending, with new business pitches being a focus area for Dentsu India group executive chairman Rohit Ohri. As this piece is being written, TapRoot is shortlisted to handle the Congress' election account (along with Percept, Crayons and McCann). If this account does come through, the load on operations and servicing will increase astronomically.

In addition, TapRoot has been making deep inroads into PepsiCo, and there are indications that their relationship will deepen. The four metals won for The Times of India at Cannes will also make the agency optimistic about more business from Bennett, Coleman and Company's stable.

Shrikhande's appointment addresses the capacity issue for TapRoot. Now, the agency not only has the senior level resources to comfortably deal with current businesses, but is also future-ready to a large extent.

Rohit Ohri must be heaving a sigh of relief. In the hurly-burly of this industry, it is easy to forget that he is chairman of Dentsu India group, which means that he needs to oversee what is rapidly becoming a vast portfolio spanning creative, media and digital. Ohri will now have more time to focus on other assets (such as the recently acquired digital agency Webchutney) and, perhaps, on other acquisitions as well.

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Updated Date: Dec 21, 2014 04:21:26 IST