It is indeed a homecoming for Suresh Balakrishna. He was last part of the Lintas group over nine years ago. At that time, he was executive vice-president and general manager of Initiative Media, the media arm of ad agency Lowe Lintas. From then to now, Balakrishna, who cumulatively has over 25 years of work experience, opted to be on the media owner’s side of the business working with Hindustan Times, Daily News & Analysis and Mail Today.
But his heart clearly lies on the media agency side of the business. He will head a new agency brand under Lintas Media Group (LMG), the media management company of the Lintas group. LMG is part of the IPG group. The latter is the fourth-largest advertising network in the world after WPP, Omnicom and Publicis. On the advertising side, agencies part of the IPG network include Lowe Lintas, McCann-Erickson and DraftFCB. On the media side, agencies that are key drivers include LMG and Lodestar UM.
Balakrishna is the CEO of one of the three main units under LMG. This is a unit that is yet-to-be-named, but includes businesses from Mumbai, Kochi, Kolkata, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The other two LMG units are Lintas Interactive Outdoor and Lintas Initiative Media. The heads of these two units are Hemanth Shah and Sudha Natarajan respectively.
Balakrishna, the senior-most of the three, is predictably excited about his new assignment. Industry peers say that he brings with him a wealth of experience into his current job and is a key asset to LMG. All three unit heads, who are designated as CEOs, report into Lynn de Souza, chairman & CEO, LMG.
The second rung at LMG consists of COOs who report to the unit heads. So Premjit Sodhi reports in to Balakrishna, Raghav Subramaniam reports in to Natarajan and Sriram Iyer reports in to Shah. All three COOs have been put in place in the last few months.
At a time, when the media agency space is increasingly seeing the entry of new players, media watchers say this reorganisation was essential.