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The news came as a surprise to many. But industry insiders say this is vintage Praveen Kenneth, founder-chairman, Law & Kenneth. On Friday, Kenneth, 47, announced he was retiring from the agency he'd been associated with for the past 15 years. This comes following the acquisition of his 49 per cent stake in Law & Kenneth by the Maurice-Levy-led Publicis Groupe. This is also the second high-profile exit of an adman from active management following Madhukar Kamath of DDB Mudra Group earlier this year. But while Kamath's retirement was understandable given that he was 62 when he called it quits in March-April this year, Kenneth has still some time go in this regard. It is unclear where he is heading next.
He was not immediately available for comment.Industry watchers say that Kenneth has always had a knack to zig when others zag. At the age of 29, for instance, he became the youngest CEO of an ad agency in India, leading the local unit of Publicis. This was a position he held on to for three years before becoming an entrepreneur and setting up creative shop St Luke's with the UK-based adman Andy Law and Body Shop founder Anita Roddick in 2002. St Luke's was subsequently rebranded as Law & Kenneth, emerging as a strong independent agency in India with a notable digital presence. The Publicis Groupe picked up 51 per cent in Law & Kenneth in 2014, merging it with the Indian unit of Saatchi & Saatchi at the same time. The transaction was touted as a victory for Kenneth, who not only managed to find a large group for his independent agency but also become the head of a merged entity that had a presence across verticals, from traditional to digital advertising. The 2014 stake acquisition by the Publicis Groupe also marked Kenneth's return to the advertising network he had left over a decade ago, with the adman not only heading the merged L&K Saatchi & Saatchi in India but also getting a seat on the Saatchi & Saatchi & Asia-Pacific board. In previous conversations, Kenneth has admitted that being in the limelight has never excited him and that he prefers to let his work do the talking. L&K Saatchi & Saatchi counts companies such as Renault India, HeroMotoCorp, Kent RO, P&G, Dabur, Pepper Fry, Jockey, Mondelez, Godrej Interio, Exide Insurance, among others, as its clients. The agency won two silvers at Cannes in 2016 and came back home with a gold at Cannes this year.