After 13 years with VMLY&R in Dubai, Kalpesh Patankar has taken up the mantle of Chief Creative Officer, United Arab Emirates at Leo Burnett.
Patankar has consistently ranked among the world’s most creative and effective leaders, and over the past 13 years, his work has helped to elevate the MENA region as one of the most celebrated hubs for creativity in the world.
“As one of the most influential creatives in the Middle East, Kalpesh’s appointment signals our commitment to investing in creativity and keeping it at the heart of one of our most iconic agency brands. He joins Leo Burnett as CCO, but his role will involve all disciplines across Publicis Groupe, using the Power of One to deliver relevant, end-to-end creative solutions for our clients,” says Bassel Kakish, Chief Executive Officer – Publicis Groupe Middle East & Turkey.
In 2018, Patankar was named among the top 10 Global Agency Leaders by AdWeek. Under his leadership as Chief Creative Officer, VMLY&R MENA was consistently named among the top creative agencies in the world, winning MEA Agency of the Decade at Cannes Lions in 2020. He has many firsts to his name, winning the region’s first double-Cannes Lions Gold, the region’s first Yellow Pencil, and a record haul of 13 Lions in 2013.
On joining Leo Burnett, Patankar says, “When I was first considering this role, I was drawn by the diversity of Leo Burnett’s client portfolio and the Groupe’s integrated model. It feels like a place where everyone comes together to collaborate for one purpose: making work that shines for our clients. The scale of the Groupe, the formidable roster of local, regional and global clients, the untapped potential of the region – there is so much opportunity that Leo Burnett and Publicis Groupe’s ‘Power of One’ structure offers, and I’m here for it.”
Natalie Lam, Chief Creative Officer, Publicis Groupe, APAC & MEA, adds, “Publicis Groupe Middle East is enjoying unstoppable momentum. Kalpesh leading Leo Burnett and driving our Power of One offering will be a key piece of our future success. Working with a world-class talent like him to create modern, relevant work with stunning craft, which drives impact for our clients, is both a pleasure and an honor."
Patankar has hit the ground running, playing a driving role in the recent pitch for e& (formerly known as Etisalat Group), which appointed Publicis Groupe as its creative partner in April. Publicis Groupe will provide creative services for all e& business pillars in support of their transformation journey.
Prior to VMLY&R, he was based in Asia with Saatchi & Saatchi Mumbai and Ogilvy Singapore. At Saatchi & Saatchi his work for Ariel and Procter & Gamble made him the No.1 Ranked creative in India, while at Ogilvy Singapore he worked on DBS, the largest bank in the region.
From Coca-Cola’s ‘Hello Happiness’ to celebrated campaigns for Harvey Nichols, Land Rover and Colgate, his work is shaped by the belief that there is only one rule – there aren’t any.