This news from one of the most stable Indian ad-agency operations has taken pretty much everyone by surprise and shock. What was your first reaction when you got to know of his exit?
When Joe first spoke to me last year about his desire to quit this role and pursue his big dream, it did take me by surprise. A few weeks and several conversations later, we agreed that this was important for him. A man who’s given over a quarter-century to build our company, deserves to choose when it’s time to move on.
In true Joe-style, he’s planned his exit meticulously and we’ve spent the last eight months putting that transition plan in place. I can see why it seems shocking to the outside world, but having lived with it for some time, we’ve internalized it.
While the succession planning has been accomplished at the 3 agency brands under the group in India, the replacement for Joe’s role has not been announced yet?
Moving to the three agency structure is the succession plan for India. Each agency has its leadership, teams and client-portfolios firmly in place. Lowe Lintas led by Chairman and CCO Arun Iyer and CEO Raj Gupta, Mullen Lintas led by chairman and CCO Amer Jaleel and CEO Virat Tandon, and PointNine Lintas led by Vikas Mehta. This team will report directly to me. With regards to Joe’s regional responsibilities – we will be announcing Joe’s successor leading Southeast Asia in the next few weeks.
What could be the impact of his exit on the group’s brand in India?
I am very confident in the power of the MullenLowe Lintas Group brand in India – a brand that has such a strong identity, culture and set of values. The focus now, is to add more dimensions to the Group brand and the hyperbundled offering. We have three distinct agency brands – Lowe Lintas, Mullen Lintas and PointNine Lintas – each with a unique set of strengths. Together, they give us a lineup of offerings that can rival even holding companies in India. Joe’s transition marks the starting point of a new chapter in MullenLowe Lintas Group’s evolution in this market.
In your view what has been the single most important contribution made by Joseph George for MullenLowe Lintas Group?
Bringing 26 years down to ‘one’ contribution is a hard one. He’s made a deep impact on the organisation in every sense of the word. In my view, the most valuable of all, has been his role as architect of today’s MullenLowe Lintas Group with regards to growing the next generation of talent in the agency. Joe is a fantastic leader, and one of his greatest strengths has been his ability to develop world class business and creative leaders.
What has been your most quirky/funny memory of working with Joe in the last year and a half?
Not many people know this but Joe is a very talented dancer and singer – and I’ve witnessed this first hand! My guess is he ends up in the movies as a next career.
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