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R Balki says goodbye to advertising

The 52-year-old group chairman of MullenLowe Lintas Group, India, has decided to move on after a three-decade long career

Shruti Venkatesh
Published: Aug 9, 2016 02:25:06 PM IST
Updated: Aug 10, 2016 06:01:51 PM IST
R Balki says goodbye to advertising
Image: Joshua Navalkar
R Balki, group chairman of MullenLowe Lintas Group, India, has decided to bid adieu to the world of advertising

R Balki, group chairman of MullenLowe Lintas Group, India, has decided to bid adieu to the world of advertising after completing three decades in the industry. The move was announced on Tuesday morning through an internal communication to the employees.

"There is no bigger happiness than to see a thought actually work the way you had fantasised. Lowe was a thought am proud of. Ok...next!” says Balki.

On a more serious note, he adds, ““We’ve been planning this for some time now. It’s been a long process of succession planning that concludes with my move. The agency is at its strongest today and I leave feeling satisfied, proud and excited. We have a fine leader in Joe and two world-class creative champions in Amer (Jaleel; Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Mullen Lintas) and Arun (Iyer; CCO, Lowe Lintas). The agency has given me more than 22 years’-worth in opportunities, growth, values and most of all, some friends-for-life,” says Balki.

After a brief stint with Mudra, Balki joined the MullenLowe Lintas Group, India, in 1994 (then known as Lintas) at its Bengaluru office. Some of the most memorable campaigns and brand ideas executed by Balki include the Walk when you talk’ (Idea), ‘Daag achhe hain’ (Surf Excel) and ‘Jaago re’ (Tata Tea). Under his leadership, the Group has consistently retained its spot amongst India’s top agencies and been a training ground for some of the best advertising minds of the industry.

R Balki says goodbye to advertising
Image: MullenLowe Lintas Group Facebook page

Joseph (Joe) George, Group CEO, MullenLowe Lintas Group in India, who has worked closely with Balki through all of the 22 years says that it is impossible and even foolish to try and replace someone like Balki; so they planned the transition differently. “As early as July 2015, we put in place, a management structure that would help us move forward as an organisation, while also maximizing the potential and aspirations of great individuals we have,” he says.

Over the last few years, Balki has also donned the hat of a film-maker and has successful films like Cheeni Kum, Paa and Ki & Ka to his credit. This move will naturally give him more time to focus on film-making.

“Balki has been the architect of the stellar agency we have in India today. He leaves behind an operation that’s successful and future-ready, a leadership team that’s perhaps the strongest of any agency in India, and a culture that he shaped along the way while himself leading by example. While we will miss his infectiously passionate presence, we wish him even greater success as a film-maker,” says Alex Leikikh, Global CEO – MullenLowe Group in a press statement.

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  • Bhaskar

    Goodbye dear Balki. You've spent the best part of your life in possibly the worst ad industry in the world. From imposing and proliferating bad English on the country, it has managed to promote and use the baser instincts of a lowly educated population. Every ad reflects the underbelly of Indian society. It has also been used as a stepping stone to Bollywood and direction at the cost of the Advertiser and greater cost to the consumer.

    on Aug 10, 2016