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I wasn't willing to wait for four years to head DDB Mudra

Wednesday, 9 April 2014 - 9:50am IST | Agency: dna

The news that Pratap Bose had quit DDB Mudra had been doing the rounds for a few weeks especially after it became known Madhukar Kamath, group CEO and managing director, DDB Mudra Group, who was due to retire this year, has received a four-year extension. With Bose as DDB Mudra chief operating officer, the agency grew from a traditional creative agency to turn into a 360-degree communications company with OOH and BTL businesses growing in a big way. The contribution of the non-core advertising business to the overall turnover is said to be in the region of 50%.

Although Kamath was unavailable for comment, a statement from him noted: "Pratap Bose has been with DDB Mudra Group for close to six years. During this time he has been a valuable member of our senior management team, leading one of our most successful and dynamic agencies DDB MudraMax. He leaves DDB Mudra Group with a strong legacy. We wish him well and the very best in his future endeavours." Excerpts from an interview with Bose:

The news of your quitting has been doing the rounds for a few weeks. So what's next?
There isn't a next right away. There are offers. I haven't decided. I am in dialogue with people, so I will take a decision that's right for me in time.

In this day and age, people don't quit until they land themselves a definite job. But you didn't do that?
There's clearly no insecurity at my level. It's not going to be difficult to get another job, if that's what you mean. Once I had decided, there was no point serving a three-month notice. So I took the step. However, Madhukar and I have agreed that I will be available for next one or two months.

Your comment that you quit since Madhukar Kamath was given a four-year extension was quite a bold statement to make...
Well, everyone knows I was looking at the top job. There were promises made. I am not the kind of guy who will wait for four years.

Are you happy with your stint at Mudra?
Oh, yes, very. It's been a happy, satisfying journey. When I moved from Ogilvy to Mudra six years back, the brief was to building an empire that was a lot more than advertising. Mudra wasn't the hottest agency in the business six years back. Then the partnership with Bobby Pawar happened, we built MudraMax to what it is today. The forays into everything other than advertising – outdoor, analytics, digital, youth, trade marketing... I help build all that, and am happy that we much achieved much success.

Isn't it a fact that most creative ad agencies are almost always headed by suits or creatives from the traditional advertising side of the business?
Well, yes, traditionally agencies have been headed by suits and creatives. But that's the past and things are changing. The person who has taken over from Shiv at TBWA is a digital guy. Clearly, whoever heads an agency must have a vision for the future.

You have a loyal bunch of people in the teams you've built. Will they move with you wherever you go?
To be honest, and as I said earlier, I haven't decided on anything about where I am going. What's clear is that I want to join an organisation that has great vision and strategy. Yes, people look at me as a rainmaker and I am good at winning businesses... It's true that there is a loyal bunch of people running Max, but they are really free to do what they want.

So do we assume that your next job will be that of the CEO of an agency?
Not really. The title doesn't matter to me. I was CEO at Ogilvy and COO at Mudra. I am a person who needs to enjoy the work and do good work for clients. My CV doesn't have five agencies that I have worked at. It's been two agencies in 25 years. The next job has to be meaningful. I very much enjoyed myself at Mudra, but it's just that I have reached a point of having been there, done that. But more than the slot, it's the people and work which matter.

At DDB Mudra, the slot did matter, right?
Yes, because I believed in natural progression and had worked hard. But going forward it doesn't really matter. I know I am contradicting myself, but that's the honest truth.

Are you looking at starting out on your own?
There are many possibilities. It could be a big agency or a small one which will require to build it. I am open to an equity with a large group, and am not closed to starting something in my individual capacity. All options are open, and I am going to take my time in deciding.

—By arrangement with MxMIndia.com

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