Who is Devika Bulchandani, Oglivy’s new Indian-born global CEO?

Devika Bulchandani is the latest to join a growing list of Indian-born CEOs leading corporate giants around the world

AMritsar-born advertising maestro Devika Bulchandani is the latest to join a growing list of Indian-born CEOs leading corporate giants around the world. On September 7, advertising and marketing giant Ogilvy named Bulchandani as global CEO, making her the first-ever woman of color to lead the global agency network.

The 53-year-old will be responsible for the creative network’s business across 131 offices in 93 countries spanning its advertising, public relations, experience, consulting and health units. Bulchandani has been promoted from the position of President and Global CEO of Ogilvy North America. Prior to joining Ogilvy two years ago, Bulchandani spent 26 years with McCann in various leadership roles, including President of McCann North America, where she earned numerous awards and accolades.

Popularly referred to as Dev, Bulchandani’s work has focused on creating a positive impact on society through the power of creativity. Her most notable accomplishments have, as Ogilvy puts it, “occurred at the intersection of the social causes she championed as brand-building efforts.” In 2017, she led ‘The Fearless Girl’ campaign which challenged Wall Street’s symbol of the charging bull with a bronze statue of a young girl, hands on hips, to send a message about gender diversity. at work. The Fearless Girl statue, which faces the New York Stock Exchange, has become a symbol of women’s equality and one of the most award-winning campaigns in the history of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Born and raised in Amritsar until the age of 10, Bulchandani is from a Punjabi family and has three siblings. She attended Welham Girls’ School in Dehradun and then graduated in English and Psychology from St Xavier’s in Mumbai. She then did her master’s degree in communication at the University of Southern California in 1991. Two years later, she got married and moved to the United States. She and her husband Ashwin have two children, a son, Arhaan, 23, and a daughter Anya, 17.

Bulchandani, who began her advertising career in 1995, is known for her ideas that capture the cultural zeitgeist. She was the driving force behind Mastercard’s long-running “Priceless” campaign as well as a one-of-a-kind “True Name” feature that launched in 2019 to allow transgender and non-binary people to display the name of their choice on their MasterCard.

She succeeds Andy Main who is stepping down as Global CEO and will serve as Senior Advisor until the end of the year. In a press release, Main said, “When I joined Ogilvy, my goal was to leverage the company’s incredible heritage, elevate its ambitions and grow our customers through work that has an impact. David Ogivy [founder of Ogilvy & Mather] talked about the importance of hiring giants and Devika is truly one of the giants in the industry. It has been an honor to be a part of this company’s rich history and I know that Devika will continue to accelerate the momentum our team has built.

In October, Bulchandani is set to be honored as a woman “making a difference, building community, and inspiring the next generation of female leaders in their field” by the New York Women in Communications (NYWIC) at the 2022 Matrix Awards. She has previously received a series of other accolades, including NY Power Woman by New York Moves Magazine; American advertising agency Head of the Year by Campaign magazine and Working Mother of the Year by She Runs It.

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Bulchandani is one of the few women at the top of a global advertising industry still largely dominated by white men. In a statement released by Ogilvy, Bulchandani said, “David Ogilvy changed the industry 74 years ago when he founded this iconic agency. As we write the next chapter in the Ogilvy history books, we will do so with our customers, using creativity to push the boundaries of what is possible. I am humbled and honored to take on this role and to do so with all of our incredibly talented people around the world.

All eyes are on Bulchandani as she joins a growing number of Indian-born CEOs who are revolutionizing business. Last week, coffee giant Starbucks named Laxman Narasimhan as CEO. Other recent examples include Microsoft’s appointment of Satya Nadella as CEO, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Twitter head Parag Agrawal, Chanel Global CEO Leena Nair and Arvind Krishna-CEO of IBM Group.

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