Dentsu India ropes in Unmesh Pawar as CPO

Pawar steps into the shoes of Rohit Suri who was serving as the chief people officer, India and South Asia till now

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Denstu has appointed Unmesh Pawar as the new chief people officer for India and South Asia. Before Pawar, Rohit Suri who moved on to join Netflix as its head of talent for India, was the chief people officer for India and South Asia at Dentsu. Suri spent less than a year in this role before moving on.

In his new role, Pawar will help Dentsu bolster the talent strategy in India and South Asia. He will further support the leadership team at Dentsu to build a distinctive culture, which helps retain and attract the best-in-class talent for the Company. Pawar will contribute to creating a future-ready organisation that delivers to the changing needs of the clients.

Following a dual reporting structure, Pawar will report to Luke Speers, chief people officer, Dentsu APAC, and Peter Huijboom, interim CEO, Dentsu India.

While Pawar has assumed the position of chief people officer for South Asia and India, Sunil Seth, HR director, South Asia, will continue to support Pawar by reporting to him and adding to the people’s function at Dentsu.

“Dentsu has always positively adapted to the fast-changing market dynamics with agility. Attracting and retaining key talent is crucial to continue serving our clients with excellence and passion. Unmesh will play a key role in that. The experience and expertise he brings will add value and help accelerate success,” says Huijboom.

Welcoming Pawar to Dentsu with delight, Speers also adds, “His experience and performance over a long period of time perfectly align with the transformational nature of developing people’s strategies and products fit for the future.”

Prior to joining Dentsu, Pawar was heading the people function at KPMG India, as its partner & CHRO. He spent more than three years at KPMG.

Backed by over 25 years of experience, Pawar comes with strong expertise in talent- management strategy and operations, talent acquisition, development and management, employee relations, inclusion and diversity and human resources transformation.

The longest stint of his career was with Accenture, where he spent 17 years in HR roles, in different capacities. He joined Accenture in early 2001, as general manager-HR, when it had only 70,000 employees globally. In the 17 years that he spent with Accenture, not only did the Company grow to 435k people across 200 cities, but so did Pawar.

At Accenture, Pawar was the global HR head for the products operating group, which served clients in the consumer goods and services, air, freight, travel services; automotive; industrial equipment; infrastructure & transportation services; life sciences; and retail industries.

Pawar has helped businesses build differentiated capabilities in the marketplace by designing and deploying complex talent strategies, as well as acquisition and talent-management practices on a global scale.

At Accenture, Pawar had overall responsibility for designing and deploying Accenture’s talent acquisition strategy to meet the talent growth needs for all businesses globally, across 59 countries.

Between 2009 and 2014, Pawar served as managing director-HR for the Accenture operations growth platform (60k employees globally). He led the talent transformation to build differentiated market capabilities for the business with strong industry focus, whilst ensuring all-time high employee engagement, retention and consistently being voted an employer of choice in the industry.

As the talent management lead for Accenture in India, during 2007–2009, he founded the talent management function for India, thereby accelerating the journey of the human capital strategy for the India market, leadership development, capability building & inclusion, as well as diversity to institutionalise a talent-multiplier culture in the organisation.

Prior to Accenture, between 1994 and 2001, he worked with two companies —Mastek and Tata Share Registry.

Acknowledging that “the ongoing transformation has set Dentsu on the path to lead the future and become the preferred choice for its clients,” Pawar himself admits that “it is a huge opportunity” for him “to build a talent-powered capability that is distinctively local”. Pawar sees this appointment as “a fantastic opportunity to grow and deliver innovation and value, and nurture talent as we instil new levels of pride amongst our employees”.

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