GroupM announces senior-level elevations

GroupM announces senior-level elevations

January 2023 will mark the merger of Essence and MediaCom.


Mumbai: Following GroupM’s announcement of a global merger of Essence and MediaCom to form EssenceMediacom earlier this year, GroupM India has confirmed the elevations of Navin Khemka as CEO and Sonali Malaviya as chief strategy and transformation officer for EssenceMediacom South Asia. Both of them will play a powerful role in driving the integration of the digital and data-driven DNA of Essence with MediaCom's multichannel, audience planning, and strategic media expertise, facilitating client growth globally through an agile response to an ever-evolving media landscape.

GroupM South Asia CEO Prasanth Kumar said, "Both Khemka and Malaviya are inspirational leaders, and under their leadership for MediaCom and Essence, they have been consistent in their efforts for the transformation of agency businesses. With both agencies coming together, we are all very excited and confident that we will continue to strengthen our client relationships and focus on our people and capabilities. I congratulate both on their new roles, and I am certain that this will be a formidable force in bringing some of the best work for our clients."

EssenceMediacom APAC CEO Rupert McPetrie said, "The appointment of Khemka as CEO and Malaviya as chief strategy and transformation officer for EssenceMediacom South Asia provides us with very strong leadership and direction as we build our new agency of the future and transform the work we do for our clients. Both have a great track record, both have a firm belief in putting people first, and together they will bring new growth to our clients' businesses."

On his elevation, Khemka said, "I am looking forward to this transformational role of leading the merged agency of Essence and MediaCom. With our best-in-class data and digital-led solutions, I am confident that we will be able to future-proof our talent and offer new services. We thank all our clients for their continued trust and partnership. Our clients can now look forward to the sophistication from Essence-MediaCom that is required to succeed in the new era."

He has over 25 years of experience across networks, working on the most aspirational brands. In his previous roles at GroupM, Khemka was part of the Mindshare team and was also actively involved in the merger of Maxus & MEC to form Wavemaker, ensuring a seamless transition of people, cultures, & clients. Under his leadership in the past four years, MediaCom has scaled new heights.

Speaking about her elevation, Malaviya said, "Clients today expect media to be at the frontlines of transformation - delivering rapid, scalable business change in an era of new possibilities. Every day, platforms evolve, creators emerge, and communities are formed. A flywheel of change is being powered at the intersection of consumers, content, and technology. I am looking forward to partnering with our highly talented teams and driving that change & achieving growth and transformation in a way that serves our consumers and clients—it is the best time to work in media!"

Malaviya has over 20 years of experience in management and media across industries and markets, including senior roles at Mindshare, PHD, and MediaCom in multiple markets. She came back to the GroupM family in 2018, where she was leading the agency’s Google business in India and Southeast Asia as Senior Vice President, Client Services. In 2021, Malaviya was elevated to MD of Essence India.

Both Khemka and Malaviya share a deep conviction for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the workplace, having personally led agency- and group-wide initiatives to embed the same. By combining the strengths of both teams at Essence and MediaCom, clients will be offered the best of both worlds, powered by the best and most diverse talent. Khemka and Malaviya will work together to bring additional specialisations such as e-commerce, addressable content, and digital OOH, to the offerings, while ensuring best-in-class core capabilities.

Both Khemka and Malaviya will be based out of Gurugram, and while Khemka will report to Kumar and McPetrie, Malaviya will report into Khemka. Both will continue to be a part of GroupM South Asia Exco.