Woman on Top: Advertising and Marketing Expert Devika Bulchandani Named Global CEO of Ogilvy
- She is the latest in an increasing number of Indian-origin leaders of global brands, including Starbucks’ Laxman Narasimhan, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen, Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, Twitter’s Parag Agrawal, Leena Nair of Chanel, and Arvind Krishna of IBM Group.
Devika Bulchandani has been appointed Global Chief Executive Officer of Ogilvy, a New York City-based British advertising, marketing, and public relations agency. In this role, the Indian American will be responsible for all aspects of the creative network’s business across 131 offices in 93 countries and spanning its Advertising, Public Relations, Experience, Consulting, and Health units, according to a company press release.
The 53-year-old, popularly referred to as Dev, will also join WPP’s executive committee as she takes on her new role. She most recently served as Global President and CEO of Ogilvy North America and takes the helm from Andy Main who is stepping down as Global CEO and will serve as a senior advisor until the end of the year. She is one of the few women at the top in a global advertising industry still largely dominated by white men.
“Devika is a champion of creativity who brings passion, purpose, and an uncompromising focus on generating impact to everything she does,” said Mark Read, CEO of WPP, in a statement. He credits the work she’s done with Main and global CCO Liz Taylor to driving Ogilvy’s strong 2022. “Her love for our industry, deep understanding of client’s needs and track record of delivering growth for agencies and brands make her the perfect choice to lead Ogilvy to even greater success.”
In the company press release, Bulchandani said she is “honored and humbled to take on this role and to do it with all our incredibly talented people all over the world.”
Before joining Ogilvy, she spent 26 years at McCann in various leadership roles including president of McCann North America. She was the driving force behind Mastercard’s long-running “Priceless” campaign as well as “True Name,” a first-of-its-kind feature launched in 2019 that empowers transgender and non-binary people to display their chosen name on their Mastercard. Known for ideas that capture the cultural zeitgeist, she also helped launch “Fearless Girl,” an iconic and beloved symbol of women’s equality; the campaign became one of the most awarded campaigns in the history of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Next month, she will be honored by New York Women in Communications (NYWIC) at the 2022 Matrix Awards, which honors women who are making a difference, building community, and inspiring the next generation of female leaders in their field. She has previously received a range of other honors including, NY Power Woman by Moves Magazine; Advertising Agency Head of the Year by Campaign Magazine; Working Mother of the Year by She Runs It; and ADCOLOR Innovator. She has been the recipient of multiple 4As Jay Chiat Awards for strategic planning.
She serves on the board of the ERA Coalition. She is also a founding member of Times Up Advertising and serves on the boards of the Ad Council, the 4A’s, and the Advertising Club.
Born and raised in Amritsar till the age of 10, she attended Welham Girls’ School in Dehradun, after which she graduated in English and Psychology at St Xavier’s in Mumbai, according to her profile in Forbes India. In 1991, she went on to do her Master’s in Communications at the University of Southern California. She and her husband Ashwin have two children, a son, Arhaan, 23, and a daughter Anya, 17.
She is the latest in an increasing number of Indian-origin CEOs. Last week, coffee giant Starbucks appointed Laxman Narasimhan as its CEO. Others include Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Parag Agrawal of Twitter, Leena Nair, global CEO, Chanel, and Arvind Krishna-CEO, IBM Group.