Publicis.Sapient taps Amazon and Tesco tech talent to help it compete with consultancy rivals

The appointments come as Publicis.Sapient looks to double down on its product engineering capabilities

Publicis.Sapient has poached retail tech talent from Amazon and Tesco as it looks to offer clients “the next level of performance in product engineering” and differentiate itself from consultancy rivals.

The transformation arm of Publicis Groupe has hired ex-Tesco online engineering director, Tilak Doddapaneni, as its global head of engineering.

Doddapaneni will join the Publicis.Sapient global leadership team and report directly to Nigel Vaz, Publicis Groupe lead for digital business transformation and chief executive of Publicis.Sapient EMEA and Apac.

While at Tesco, Doddapaneni built a modern online engineering team spanning India and the UK, leading the grocer to launch Tesco Direct and Tesco’s Marketplace. He also rolled out a reformed architecture for the Grocery Home Shopping platform in the UK and international markets.

Elsewhere, Rakesh Ravuri is joining from Amazon. The exec will take on the role of chief technology officer for programming languages and cloud, as well as global head of engineering for retail.

Reporting into Doddapaneni, Ravuri Publicis.Sapient said the lead will play a “key leadership role” in the transformation hub’s operations in India.

Ravuri grouped together the Amazon engineering team responsible for the platform's logistics software, leading to launch of Amazon's own delivery service.

The appointments come as Publicis.Sapient looks to double down on its product engineering capabilities; both to stand out in the market ad offer clients solutions that help drive transformation.

Doddapaneni and Ravuri are both former Sapient alumni. Doddapaneni was previously technology practice lead for the business before joining Tesco in 2010. Ravuri, meanwhile, was a director of design and development for the company between 2008 and 2009 – he too joined Tesco afterwards, before moving on to Amazon.

Publicis Groupe, which has been transforming its own business under the Power of One model, has sought to position Publicis.Sapient as partner for other firms working through growing pains.

Last year, it was appointed by McDonald's to reboot the fast food chain's digital and tech innovation strategy alongside Capgemini. Earlier this year, French supermarket Carrefour announced it would work with the transformation hub to become "a global leader in e-commerce".

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