NEW DELHI--Cohn & Wolfe has become the latest international PR firm to launch in India, via a wholly-owned startup in the country.

The WPP firm has established offices in Delhi and Mumbai, and is currently searching for a CEO. Cohn & Wolfe has sought to aggressively expand its Asia-Pacific presence in recent months, buying Impactasia in China and Singapore agency XPR.

Cohn & Wolfe global CEO Donna Imperato told the Holmes Report that the firm initially considered the acquisition option in India too. 

"I met with a number of Indian firms, but none of them really grabbed me," said Imperator. "Our culture is so important."

Instead, Cohn & Wolfe has opted to launch its own presence, following in the footsteps of such firms as Fleishman-Hillard, Ruder Finn and Waggener Edstrom, all of which have rolled out Indian operations in recent years.

Prema Sagar, CEO and founder of WPP sibling Genesis Burson-Marsteller, will sit on Cohn & Wolfe's India board and play a mentoring role for the firm. Sagar initially launched a second brand called Patina Communications last year to handle client conflict; that operation is now integrated with Cohn & Wolfe, which reports directly into Imperato in New York.

The firm already has six staffers in place, including former Unilever India communications head Irfan Khan, who has been named chairman. Dolly Tayal and Piyal Banerjee, both ex-Genesis, come aboard to head Mumbai and Delhi, respectively.