LONDON—Despite the increasingly apparent importance of communications to an organization's fortunes, it still remains rare to see executives from this function move into business leadership roles

So it is fitting that the first South Asian Individual Achievement SABRE Award will recognise Anurag Mehrotra, who was named president and MD of Ford India at the start of June. Mehrotra will receive the prestigious honour at the SABRE Awards South Asia, taking place in Mumbai on 27 July.

Mehrotra began his career at Genesis Burson-Marsteller, spending several years at the PR agency before being named VP of marketing and communications at Accenture. After four years in this role, he joined WNS Global Services as VP of global marketing, before arriving at Ford as marketing VP in 2010.

"When Genesis PR was a company in the basement, Anurag was one of us at that time," recalls Genesis founder and Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific vice chair Prema Sagar. "He was always and is a quiet, serious person with deep thinking and terrific execution.  Every client needed no one else but Anurag."

His ascension up the ranks at Ford India has been notably swift. In 2013 he added sales responsibilities to his remit, before becoming the youngest-ever MD of the company earlier this year. His elevation reflects his success at Ford, which include overseeing the launch of EcoSport, Ford's most successful product in the country, and helping to increase exports in India.

For Sagar, this is no accident. "Anurag is an excellent professional and has always focused on achieving success in whatever he does," she points out, recalling that during a hostile takeover bid for INDAL, Mehrotra developed a media sentiment analysis tool that ultimately helped their client prevail. 

Mehrotra's marketing expertise, meanwhile, has manifested itself in Ford's product-led innovation promise, which include a differentiated customer experience through the Feels like Family campaign and affordable service initiatives such as the Ford Service Price Promise. In addition to several successful marketing campaigns, he has helped to grow the company’s sales and service footprint.