Asci names N. S. Rajan as new chairman

Marico’s Saugata Gupta elected VC while Shashidhar Sinha has been appointed honorary treasurer.

Mumbai: August One Partners director N. S. Rajan was unanimously elected as chairman of the board of governors of the Advertising Standards Council of India (Asci) on Thursday. The decision was taken at the board meeting following the 36th annual general meeting of the industry’s self-regulator.

N. S. Rajan is a public relations (PR) veteran with a demonstrated history of setting up and managing firms in the PR industry. He was previously the founder and managing director of Ketchum Sampark, an Omnicom Group.

Marico managing director & CEO Saugata Gupta was elected vice-chairman, while Shashidhar Sinha, chief executive officer at IPG Mediabrands India, was appointed honorary treasurer.

Subhash Kamath, the outgoing chairman, will now be a part of the consultative committee of the board, which, among other activities, mentors the new initiatives of the organisation.

Lintas India Group CEO Virat Tandon and GMS India (Meta) director Arun Srinivas were newly inducted onto the board at the same meeting.

Talking about his new role as the Asci chairman, N. S. Rajan said, "It is indeed a privilege to take up the role of Asci chairman. Our thought leadership initiatives, industry reports, and Asci academy are important pillars of taking Asci ahead into the future. I am looking forward to advancing the agenda of the Council to rapidly increase Asci awareness among consumers so that they engage more readily and in greater numbers, voicing their concerns, anxieties, and questions about what they experience in the form of thousands of ads per day. That number, on average, in India is anywhere between 7,000-10,000 ads per day!"

"I would also focus on Asci’s efforts more towards prevention, in addition to the robust corrective mechanisms we have built over the decades. This we would do by using the several initiatives already in play – whether advice, guidance, training, or self-regulation. The third pillar would be to keep ahead of the fast-expanding and fractionalising digital domain to ensure that responsible advertising principles are followed equally across all media and consumer engagements by advertising in every form. A lot has been done by Asci over the last several years, and I am committed to seeing that the momentum generated by all past efforts is kept alive or even pushed forward with greater speed," he added.

A key initiative announced at the AGM by the outgoing chairman, Subhash Kamath was the soon-to-be-launched Asci Academy. Asci Academy is set to move industry’s self-regulator in the direction of training and awareness creation, and deep engagement with various stakeholders in the prevention of objectionable ads. This underlines Asci’s move to create impact at the point of creation, and not merely the point of publication. A more detailed agenda for Asci Academy will be unveiled over the next few weeks and months.

Speaking about his two-term tenure as Asci chairman, Subhash Kamath said, "The past two years have been truly transformational for Asci. Our vision of making Asci more future-ready by taking on the challenges of a digital world and a fast-changing communication landscape, and by adding value to the industry through more agility, responsiveness, services, and thought leadership, has started showing results. I’m sure Asci will continue to grow from strength to strength in the coming years. It’s been a privilege to serve as its chairman and I thank the board, the CCC members and the wonderful secretariat team for making it possible."

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