Rupen Desai is stepping down from the global CMO role at Dole Sunshine Company. Desai was in the role for almost four years as part of his consultancy work for The Shed/28, otherwise known as TS/28. Some of its clients include J&J Vision Care, Sustenir - Temasek funded start-up & Unilever’s Elida Beauty.
In a statement to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE confirming the departure, TS/28 said as an “outside-in marketing leadership team” from The Shed 28 (TS/28), it was always clear that there would be a transition date for this build-operate-transfer partnership. However, Desai’s TS/28 colleague Ranjit Jathanna will remain as chief communications officer alongside others.
Desai told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, given that the blueprint of transformation is complete; with successful proof of concepts delivering tangible impact across Dole’s purpose, sustainability promises, category innovations and brand communication it was the right time to move on.
Prior to his role with Dole, Desai was vice chairman of brand, APACMEA of Edelman where he was credited in building up p a strong integrated brand practice, establishing both depth and breadth in digital, creative and planning. Before that, he was with Lowe and Partners Worldwide. In total, he spent more than 20 years in the ad industry.
In a 2020 interview with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Desai also admitted to being “an accidental marketer” who didn't grow up thinking this was his career trajectory. While it is not uncommon for individuals in the adland to head over to the client side, Desai said he "will continue to be an accidental marketer all [his] life".
Desai also said in the interview that being global CMO of Dole was not something he had planned for, but the journey began when Dole's current president Pier Luigi Sigismondi requested Desai to help him build the brand. Both individuals had worked together closely when Sigismondi was still Unilever's president of Southeast Asia and Australasia.
"I was not convinced to begin with until we charted out what this brand can be rather than just what it is. Very rarely do you come across companies where you can literally eat your brand purpose and for us, we are fortunate to be in this position. The opportunity to make a meaningful impact was just too tempting over the weeks of discussion for me to decline," he explained.
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