Wieden+Kennedy has announced the appointment of Gautham Narayanan as the Managing Director and would be working alongside executive creative directors Molona Wati Longchar and Shuchi Thaur. Narayanan has spent the majority of his career at BBDO, most recently as Regional Director for BBDO Africa & Managing Director, BBDO South Africa, where he helped land several new business wins, including Google Africa, and focused on talent development across the agency’s four African offices.
Narayanan is credited with spearheading the recent business turnaround at BBDO South Africa by driving revenue growth and doubling profits in just three years. During his time at the helm, the agency won local effectiveness awards and creative awards at Cannes, African Cristals, and Loeries (Africa’s top creative awards). In 2016, the Loeries named BBDO South Africa #1 Medium-sized Agency, #1 Interactive & Digital Agency and BBDO became Regional Agency Group in 2017.
The position was previously held by Siddarth Loyal, who left the agency earlier this month. Narayanan, who is currently based in South Africa, will relocate to Delhi and take his post in September. The transition is being managed by W+K alum Patrick Cahill, who spent nearly seven years with the agency in New York and Delhi, where he held the Managing Director role from 2015-17 before starting his own creative consultancy CAHILL&PARTNERS.
Prior to his move to Africa, Narayanan spent 13 years at AMVBBDO in London, one of the best agencies in the BBDO network, where he worked on flagship brands including British Telecom, Guinness, Snickers in local, regional and global roles. In 2004, he was selected by the agency’s management to start up Lunar BBDO, a creative-media startup. During his tenure, the business tripled, the agency won effectiveness awards as well as Gunn points for BBDO.
Narayanan commented, “I have always admired the simplicity and smarts of Wieden+Kennedy’s work, from afar. For me, W+K’s ability to infiltrate popular culture has been the key to their success. It’s a simple formula that drives fame for the brands they serve, which in turn, drives commercial success for their Clients’ business.I consider myself lucky to have worked for BBDO my whole career, and I can honestly say Wieden+Kennedy was the only agency network I considered leaving BBDO for. W+K’s independent culture and belief in compelling ideas, paired the opportunity to partner with extraordinary clients and lead an office in my country of birth, was too tempting to resist. After almost four years in Africa, I am relishing another adventure, both professionally and personally, for myself and my family. It’s an exciting time to be in India and an exciting time to join the Wieden+Kennedy family.”