GroupM Promotes Navin Khemka to CEO & Sonali Malaviya to Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer of EssenceMediacom South Asia

The news follows GroupM’s announcement of a global merger of Essence and MediaCom to form EssenceMediacom earlier this year.

Navin Khemka & Sonali Malaviya

Following GroupM’s announcement of a global merger of Essence and MediaCom to form EssenceMediacom earlier this year, GroupM India today confirmed the elevation of Navin Khemka as CEO and Sonali Malaviya as Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer for EssenceMediacom South Asia.

Khemka and Malaviya are tasked with driving the integration of the digital and data-driven DNA of Essence with MediaCom’s multichannel audience planning and strategic media expertise, facilitating client growth through an agile response to an ever-evolving media landscape.

Prasanth Kumar, CEO, GroupM South Asia, said, “Both Navin and Sonali are inspirational leaders and under their leadership for MediaCom and Essence, they have been consistent in their efforts in the transformation of agency businesses. With both agencies coming together, we all are very excited and confident that we will continue to strengthen our client relationships and continue to focus on our people and capabilities. I congratulate both Navin and Sonali on their new roles and I am certain that they will be a formidable force in delivering some of the best work for our clients.”


Rupert McPetrie, CEO, EssenceMediacom APAC, added, “The appointment of Navin as CEO and Sonali as Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer for EssenceMediacom South Asia provides us with very strong leadership and direction as we build our new agency of the future and transform the work we do for our clients. Both have a great track record, both have a firm belief in putting people first, and together will bring new growth to our clients’ businesses.”

Khemka said, “I am looking forward to this transformational role in leading the merged agency of Essence and MediaCom. With our best-in-class data and digital-led solutions, I am confident that we will be able to future-proof our talent and offer new services. Thanks to all our clients for their continued trust and partnership. Our clients can now look forward to the sophistication from EssenceMediacom that is required to succeed in the new era.”

Khemka brings over 25 years of experience across networks, working on aspirational brands. In his previous roles at GroupM, Khemka was part of Mindshare and was also actively involved in the merger of Maxus and MEC to form Wavemaker, ensuring a seamless transition of people, cultures and clients. Under his leadership in the past four years, MediaCom has scaled new heights.

Malaviya said, “Clients today expect media to be at the frontline of transformation, delivering rapid, scalable business change in an era of new possibilities. Every day, platforms evolve, creators emerge and communities are formed. A flywheel of change is being powered at the intersection of consumers, content and technology. I am looking forward to partnering with our highly talented teams and driving that change and achieving growth and transformation in a way that serves our consumers and clients. It is the best time to work in media!”


Malaviya has over 20 years of experience in management and media across industries and markets, including senior roles at Mindshare, PHD and MediaCom in multiple markets. She came back to the GroupM family in 2018 where she was leading the agency’s Google business in India and Southeast Asia as Senior Vice President, Client Services. In 2021, Malaviya was elevated to Managing Director of Essence India.

Both will be based out of Gurgaon. Khemka will report to Kumar and McPetrie, while Malaviya will report to Khemka. Both will continue to be part of GroupM South Asia’s executive committee.

Harold Henry

Harold Henry

Quite the personality, a regular contributor, and we like to keep him around.

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