Devika Bulchandani, president of McCann North America, is leaving her post to become North American CEO and global chair of advertising at Ogilvy, Campaign US has learned.
Bulchandani has been at McCann for over two decades. She began her career at the agency in 1997 in the strategy department, rising to become chief strategy officer of McCann NY and managing director of global strategy.
She became president of McCann New York in 2017, and was elevated to president of McCann North America in 2019. Chris Macdonald, global president of advertising and allied agencies at McCann Worldgroup, will oversee her remit until a replacement is named.
At Ogilvy, Bulchandani will oversee all aspects of the business in the US and Canada, including advertising, branding, content, PR, experience, growth and innovation and health. She will also support Ogilvy's advertising business globally.
“In her more than two decades with McCann, Devika Bulchandani has helped us grow and strengthen our business in so many ways, and in so many different leadership roles,” Harris Diamond, chairman and CEO, McCann Worldgroup in a statement. “She has now decided to take the next step in her career moving to a global position, and unfortunately it will be at another agency. I thank her for her countless contributions and wish her all the best in her new role.”
Bulchandani was integral to iconic campaigns at McCann, transforming Mastercard’s “Priceless,” which has been running for over 20 years, into a global platform including digital and experiential marketing. She co-founded McCann XBC, Mastercard’s dedicated agency within McCann.
“I think I share with you mixed emotions about this,” Macdonald wrote in a note to staff, obtained by Campaign US. “On the one hand, we of course hate to see her go because of how much she has contributed to, and has been an integral part of, our culture and company. On the other hand, we’re proud that someone that we respect so highly has been recognized for what she has achieved here at McCann and has been recruited for a top global role elsewhere.”
Bulchandani leaves McCann shortly after Diamond announced he would retire at the end of the year. The changes at McCann come amid a broader leadership shuffle at parent IPG, in which chairman and CEO Michael Roth will retire and be succeeded by EVP and COO Philippe Krakowsky in January 2021.
Bulchandani joins Ogilvy under a new regime headed up by former Deloitte Digital boss Andy Main, who replaced John Seifert as global CEO in June after four decades at the agency.
Under Seifert, Ogilvy began retracting agency brands in 2017 to operate as a global network under a single P&L. That strategy seems to be rolling back under Main, who recently appointed a new CEO for Ogilvy Health.
“Dev is a leader with relentless drive, a sharp understanding of our clients’ rapidly evolving needs, and an undeniable track record of using creativity as a catalyst for growth," Main said in a statemnet. "With Dev leading our teams across North America, I’m confident that Ogilvy will be strongly positioned to deliver the ideas our clients need to create giant value for their businesses at speed and scale.”