Varun Channa has joined J Walter Thompson India as senior vice president and managing partner of the agency's business unit Power of One (PO1) - which handles a large number of PepsiCo's flagship brands. He replaces also Babita Baruah, who is now managing partner of GTB, India.
Based in Gurgaon, India, Channa now reports to CEO of JWT South Asia, Tarun Rai. He is no stranger to the agency, having been its JWT India vice president for nearly 15 years where he was heading the Unilever business on Lux portfolio in the 1990s.
Prior to this, Channa was the managing director of Mindshare Malaysia, where he was credited with leading the transformation of the organisation from being perceived as a ‘traditional media’ agency to being a tech and data savvy company.
Prior to that, as marketing director at Danone India & South Asia, he worked on the market entry strategy for Danone in the Dairy category for India, Sri Lanka & Nepal. He continued in his role as marketing director when he moved to Danone Indonesia in 2009.
According to the agency, Channa brings to the table his robust global experience across a multitude of categories comprising beverages, dairy, personal wash, consumer electronics, durables and media.
"It's great to have Channa return to advertising and to JWT with the experience that he has gained across marketing and media. I am sure his passion and his drive will propel the wonderful PepsiCo brands we handle to greater success," he added.
Thanking Baruah’s for her contributions, Rai shared that she had worked across many JWT offices, briging the same energy and commitment to all her various roles.
“Her stint as head of our PepsiCo business has been exceptional. She has always led from the front and is a fantastic leader. I am extremely proud that she is moving on to another senior role within the group. I wish her all the very best,"Rai added.
“It’s great to be back at JWT to work on the most exciting brands in the world and lead a fiercely passionate team. I hope to bring my varied experience across markets and across functions to help make the PepsiCo brands and business stronger,” Channa said.