Arun Sudhaman 23 Jan 2020 // 7:30AM GMT
NEW DELHI — BCW has finally integrated its Indian PR firms Genesis and Six Degrees, two years after Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe merged on a global basis.
The integration sees the two brands come together under the BCW India business group, which will number 455 people in total and become India's second-largest PR firm, and largest international PR agency, with revenues estimated at around $20m.
Six Degrees, best known for its technology prowess, brings around 85 staffers to the group, complementing Genesis' status as a full-service heavyweight in India's PR market. Until now, India had effectively been excluded from the merger of Burson and Cohn & Wolfe businesses in Asia-Pacific, because of the substantial minority retained by Six Degrees co-founders Zach James and Rishi Seth in their firm.
However, BCW has now acquired the remainder of the firm and now owns 100% of Six Degrees, after Cohn & Wolfe bought a majority of the business in 2015.
Genesis and Six Degrees will retain their separate brands and will function independently, but back offices will merge and the firms will co-locate in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. The group's remaining PPR and Alphabet brands have been retired, with their teams absorbed into Genesis BCW and Six Degrees BCW.
A BCW spokesperson confirmed that "there will be no staff reductions as a result of the integration" and that the group is hiring on the back of revenue growth in 2019 and 2020.
In terms of leadership, the BCW India group will be managed by the BCW India board, reporting to BCW Asia-Pacific regional president Matt Stafford.
Genesis BCW founder Prema Sagar (pictured) becomes non-executive chairperson of BCW India, a full-time position that includes consulting, mentoring, strategic work and business development. Deepshikha Dharmaraj takes on the CEO role of Genesis BCW, which was previously held by Sagar.
Meanwhile, James becomes chief strategy officer of BCW Asia-Pacific and executive sponsor of BCW India, after co-founding Six Degrees and serving as co-group CEO of the firm.
James' fellow co-founder and co-CEO Seth becomes CEO of Six Degrees BCW. Sagar, James, Dharmaraj and Seth will each report directly to Stafford.
In addition, Vandana Sandhir becomes chief client officer of Genesis BCW, after previously leading PPR India.
“India is a critical market for BCW and I’m confident this integration will boost our bold growth strategy for the market,” said BCW global CEO Donna Imperato. “I’m excited to see the formidable talent under BCW India Group continue to move people with the creativity and innovation that is at the heart of all we do.”
“With the Six Degrees earnout complete, our clients can now tap the tremendous talent and capabilities from our incredibly strong team across both brands,” added Stafford. “The complementary capabilities of each brand and the resulting synergies will also make the new BCW India Group an even more attractive workplace for our employees and future recruits.”
“I am delighted at the coming together of the people, ideas and resources of these two firms,” said Sagar. “I look forward to working closely with Deepshikha, Zach and Rishi to drive the integration of the teams under the BCW India Group, and to demonstrate our combined strength to our clients, our people and the industry.”