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Wieden+Kennedy expands India operation with new CCO and office in Mumbai

By Amit Bapna | Editor-at-large

March 1, 2022 | 4 min read

Wieden+Kennedy, the global indie agency with a well-known creative pedigree, has hired Santosh Padhi as chief creative officer for India operations. Most recently Padhi was chief creative officer and co-founder at the creative agency Taproot Dentsu, which he exited in September 2021.

The agency has also announced its second office location in India in Mumbai – something it has not done in any market outside of the US.

The Wieden+Kennedy journey in India

The globally-renowned agency has managed to retain its unique DNA over the years in the markets it has launched in while managing to ward off offers for buyouts and mergers. The privately-held creative company has offices in Amsterdam, London, New York City, Portland, São Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Wieden+Kennedy has big plans for India

Wieden+Kennedy has big plans for India

Its Indian journey was launched in 2007, and over the years the brands that have had the Wieden stamp include IndiGo, Royal Enfield, Nike, Visa and Government of India.

The agency got most famous possibly for building the Indian airline brand IndiGo into a formidable player, known for its design sensibility across all touchpoints – from its sandwich pack and cookie tin to even its boarding pass.

Getting the new CCO and opening its Mumbai office

Padhi, a veteran adman of over 25 years, is famously known as one half of the Taproot founder team along with Agnello Dias.

The two had launched Taproot in 2009 and the agency went on to become one of India’s most awarded creative agencies globally in a short tenure. It was acquired by the Dentsu network in 2012.

Interestingly W+K was one of their inspirations when Taproot was set up, and now Padhi is set to join it “to take this vibrant legacy brand forward and build the next chapter of creative excellence out of India,” he says.

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Padhi adds: “Creativity is the core of our business, and W+K has proven that consistently with fearless creative work on a variety of brands.”

Excited about the future of Wieden+Kennedy in India, its global chief creative officer Karl Lieberman said: “Padhi is a transformative creative leader with an impressive track record building creative companies and brands, and making work that is centered in culture.”

With Padhi taking over, Dean Wei – who has been the executive creative director leading W+K Delhi since 2019 – is leaving the agency later this year to return to London. The current managing director Gau Narayanan will stay on in his current role.

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