VML India Welcomes Babita Baruah as CEO
Babita Baruah is set to assume the role of Chief Executive Officer at VML India from March 1, 2024. The announcement comes as Shams Jasani, the former CEO of Wunderman Thompson South Asia Group, steps down from his position. Baruah, with an impressive career spanning 25 years in marketing and advertising, is poised to lead VML India into a new era of creativity and innovation.
Baruah’s journey in the industry began at JWT/Wunderman Thompson India, where she spent two decades honing her skills and leading global and local brands such as PepsiCo, Unilever, Nestlé, Kellogg’s, Godrej, Kotak Mahindra, Reliance, and Aditya Birla. Her extensive experience includes a dual role at WPP’s Ford International Market Group as Regional Client Lead and Executive Director at VMLY&R Thailand.
Baruah expressed her enthusiasm for the new role, saying, “It’s an honor to lead a market like India for VML. I look forward to working closely with Audrey, Yi-Chung, Saurabh, and the whole team in India to make sure that we connect creativity, experience, data, and technology, to be the preferred destination for India’s ambitious brands and talented individuals.”
Audrey Kuah, Co-CEO of VML APAC, welcomed Baruah and emphasized her familiarity with the Indian market. Kuah expressed confidence in Baruah’s ability to lead VML India to new heights, citing her track record in delivering innovation and growth for clients.
Saurabh Saksena, elevated to the role of President of VML’s India operations, will collaborate with Baruah in leading the agency. With over 30 years of experience, Saksena has a proven track record of delivering business growth, managing change, and building deep internal capabilities across various agencies, including a decade at Wunderman Thompson and most recently VMLY&R.
Saksena expressed his excitement about the partnership, stating, “I’m very excited to continue this journey of building a strong and successful VML with Babita by orchestrating innovative growth solutions for our clients that sit at the intersection of creativity, experience, data, and technology.”
The leadership transition is the final appointment in VML’s Asia Pacific leadership team. The outgoing CEO, Shams Jasani, played a pivotal role in the agency’s success, winning large competitive pitches during his tenure, including Skoda, Vivo, Indigo, Hafele, NPCI, Rupay, Manyavar, and Cult Sports across Creative, MarTech, and Commerce.
Reflecting on his time at Wunderman Thompson, Jasani shared, “It has been an amazing and rewarding two years at Wunderman Thompson, and I’m proud of what we have achieved. As the business continues its evolution, I believe my job is done. I am looking forward to a new and exciting chapter in my life with an amazing opportunity.”
Audrey Kuah, Joint-CEO of VML APAC, acknowledged Jasani’s dedication to the business, stating, “With such a large and diverse market like India, I have seen Shams work diligently to bring the offices and capabilities together. I would like to thank Shams for his dedication to our business and wish him every success in his new endeavors.”
Jasani is set to embark on a new opportunity, with details to be announced in due course. The leadership changes mark a dynamic shift for VML India, signaling a commitment to innovation, growth, and client success in the evolving advertising and marketing landscape.