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Start Design Group UK announces Tarun Rai as Co-chairman as part of Indian and South Asian expansion

Tarun Rai appointed Co Chairman of Start Design Group Tarun Rai
Tarun Rai, Co-chairman of Start Design Group

INDIA — London-based branding and design consultancy Start Design Group has announced the appointment of advertising and media stalwart Tarun Rai as its Co-chairman. Announcing the appointment, Start Design Group said, “We couldn’t have found a better person to join our board and help introduce Start Design Group to the Indian and South Asian markets. Tarun has over three decades of experience in advertising and media and has worked with a host of world-class companies, both Indian and international. He has strong relationships with his clients, is a proven leader, and has an excellent understanding of branding and design.”

Tarun Rai appointed Co Chairman of Start Design Group David Blair
David Blair

According to David Blair, CEO and Co-chairman of Start Design Group, “Tarun and I first started working together in 2006 when I moved to India with my family to set up WPP Group company Fitch’s offices in Mumbai and Delhi. I have always admired his insight, tenacity, and innate ability to build lasting relationships based on trust and understanding. It is great to be working in India again alongside someone as experienced and well-regarded as Tarun.”

Commenting on his appointment, Tarun Rai added, “I am very impressed by the work Start Design Group has done for so many iconic brands, like Virgin, Barclays, P&G, and Adidas, over its 28 years history. I am also impressed by the breadth of their capabilities which range from branding and digital to experiential design. They have already been operating successfully in the GCC region for many years, for clients like Hamad International Airport, Du and Yas Island, and moving further eastwards makes a lot of sense. Especially, since David knows this market so well, having launched and built Fitch’s India operations. David was based in Mumbai for six years and we worked together on many assignments. He then moved to London and went on to become Fitch’s Global CEO. It’s great to partner with him again.”

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With over three decades of experience in the advertising and media industry, Tarun is an accomplished leader with a proven track record in the Indian and South Asian markets having built some of India’s strongest brands and sharing a rapport with clients that spans decades. After serving as the CEO of Worldwide Media, a joint venture of BBC Worldwide and The Times of India, Tarun rejoined JWT in 2015 as its CEO for South Asia. He was made Chairman and Group CEO when JWT merged with Wunderman to form Wunderman Thompson (now VML). After a successful stint in South Asia, he was tasked with the responsibility for the APAC region, covering seventeen countries, as Executive Director.

David Blair, on the other hand, is a branding and design expert having worked with WPP-owned Fitch (now Landor Group) for over two decades. He was appointed Fitch’s global CEO in 2017. During his time at Fitch, he performed many roles, but always viewed his time in India as a highlight, working with some of India’s best-known companies including Tata, Reliance, Aditya Birla, Godrej, and Asian Paints, among many others.

As a leading trusted partner for design strategy and execution, Start Design Group will leverage its international design expertise and local understanding, to deliver unparalleled design experiences for clients in India.

Tarun further stated, “Design language is increasingly international. Besides, many Indian companies and brands are no longer limited to the local market but have a footprint across the world. Start Design Group, who have extensive global experience and understand the Indian market well, make ideal partners for ambitious companies.”

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