Kavita Rao to be interim CEO, H+Knowlton Strategies India, will drive growth road map

After less than two years as CEO, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Chetan Mahajan has been replaced by former GBM, chief talent officer, Kavita Rao as chief executive.H+K Strategies today announced that Kavita Rao has been named Interim Chief Executive of H+K Strategies India, effective immediately. She will report directly to Jack Martin, global executive chairman and CEO of H+K Strategies India.

The release said that, "The current India CEO, Chetan Mahajan,  is leaving to pursue personal interests, and H+K Strategies extends sincere thanks for his dedication and leadership." Mahajan, joined the firm in January 2017 after a stint at MSLGROUP India as joint MD.

Rao is expected to focus on a growth plan for H+K Strategies India to enable the WPP firm to take a larger share in the Indian PR market. Rao has come in at a time, when WPP wishes H+K Strategies India to focus on it's growth; Rao is expected to drive that. Rao joined GBM again in 2013 as chief talent engagement officer, after her role as head of communications at HSBC technologies.

Commenting on the executive shift, Jack Martin, global executive chairman and CEO, said: “We welcome Kavita Rao, who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the areas of strategic public relations and corporate communications. Kavita will be working closely with me and my team as she moves our India operation forward.”

“To achieve success in today's business environment,” Mr. Martin continued, “companies must look beyond traditional sources of insight and advice. At Hill+Knowlton, we believe in the importance of the public; we also understand how to use this powerful platform to leverage our wisdom in clear and actionable ways –  regarding management, finance, law and other core areas of interest to our clients.”

Regarding India, one of the largest and most dynamic communications markets in the world, Mr. Martin said: “We believe that we have the knowledge and the expertise to play a significant role in India, and Kavita is joining us at a very interesting time in terms of our going-forward prospects. In recognition, Kavita will be working directly with me over the next few months to deliver on our shared vision for H+K in India.”

“I also want to acknowledge and personally thank Prema Sagar, Vice Chair, Burson-Marsteller Asia Pacific & Principal/Founder of Genesis Burson-Marsteller, who has played a key role during this transition,” Mr. Martin added. Prema Sagar will continue to serve as an advisor and mentor in India. 

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