Former Droga5 boss Sudeep Gohil returns to Australia as KPMG’s head of brand strategy

Industry heavyweight and former Droga5 CEO Sudeep Gohil has returned to Australia to join KPMG, Mumbrella can reveal.

Gohil, who was most recently a managing partner and chief strategy officer at Publicis India, joins the consultancy as its head of brand strategy.

He will be tasked with helping clients with brand strategy, build KPMG’s brand and bolster KPMG’s Customer, Brand and Marketing Advisory (CBMA) arm.

Gohil starts with KPMG today

Gohil was 72andSunny’s group strategy director in Los Angeles for a year, Droga5 Australia’s CEO and Wieden + Kennedy’s strategic planning director.

Gohil was the CEO of Droga5 Australia for three years and remained with the agency right up until the agency announced its closure in September 2015.

During his time at the helm of Droga5, Gohil was also the chairman of The Communications Council for nearly three years.

He has also had stints at BBH London, BBH Japan and Vertigo Communications Group.

Speaking to Mumbrella, Gohil said: “I just thought I want to try and do something different and I want to try and be looking forward rather than looking back, and with the greatest of respect to all the agencies I have ever worked for and all the people I have ever worked with, I just thought I wanted to do something that was different and future-facing rather than looking in the other direction.”

Despite KPMG’s competitors, such as Accenture and Deloitte, making aggressive manoeuvres into agency territory Gohil said he chose the company because its marketing ambitions remain still in their infancy.

“Because KPMG has not established what they are doing and how they are going to do it, they’re late to the game, which from my perspective was an opportunity to help build the time, shape the offering, figure out what’s up and down. That is exactly why I was keen to join them because they hadn’t exactly already made all their moves and figured out everything about everything.”

Gohil told Mumbrella he spoke to all of the consulting firms, but ultimately KPMG appealed to him because it is “late to market” and there is an opportunity for him to work on a brand needing improvement.

“Of the various consulting firms and of the ‘big four’, KPMG is arguably later to be setting out what their intent is and how they view the world. From that perspective, I think the KPMG brand needs work because whilst it is incredibly trusted and it is incredibly well respected, what it stands for and how still remains to be seen.”

“For me to try and help shape that, and to help express what the business stands for and is all about, that’s a good opportunity.”

Gohil at Mumbrella360 in 2015

Gohil’s appointment comes one month after the consultancy acquired customer experience agency UDKU.

KPMG launched its own marketing arm CBMA in June last year, appointing former trade union official Paul Howes to lead the division.

Howes, partner-in-chare at KPMG CBMA, said the firm was ecstatic to have Gohil on board.

“His global viewpoint, in-depth experience working on marketing strategy for leading brands, and his entrepreneurial approach fit perfectly what our clients are looking for.”

Margaret Cowle, national managing partner of brand and engagement at KPMG Australia, said Gohil will also be able to help the consultancy with its own brand.

“Besides capturing his skills for the benefits of our clients, Sudeep will also play an important role in shaping KPMG’s own brand in Australia, working with our internal brand, marketing and communications team to help further differentiate what KPMG means in an ever-evolving market. We are incredibly excited to have him join the firm.”

Discussing the future of the relationships between agencies and consultancies, Gohil said both advertising agencies and consultancies will always exist but will have different skillsets and competencies. However, clients are starting to want more of a consultancy model, he added.

“KPMG doesn’t want to be doing advertising. KPMG as a business is not interested in getting involved in every single aspect of the process. However, my view is that clients are already moving to a model which is better suited to the consulting model which is clients not paying retainers for their agencies. They are already working on a project basis and consultancies have been set up specifically to work in that project by project basis.

“Therefore the consulting firms are already set up on one part to be better bread for that kind of behaviour.”


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