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INDIA’S MOST TRUSTED CEO’S 2018, Tarun Rai, CEO, J Walter Thompson South Asia

INDIA’S MOST TRUSTED CEO’S 2018, Tarun RaiCEO, J Walter Thompson South Asia

I am a team player. I believe a captain is as good as his team. I believe that while individuals are important it is great teams that win. Transparency, collaboration, energy, passion and trust in your team is what is important. I am a culture builder. And as a leader you have to lead by example.

The Journey

If I look back at my working career, the one constant is that I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. Whether it was my first job at Asian Paints or my long stint across three offices of JWT or the seven very exciting years at Worldwide Media before returning to head JWT – it has been such a fun ride. So many great experiences, interacting with so many different people, constantly learning and evolving. And if you are enjoying what you do, you will do well. And so, the opportunities came my way that made me richer for the experience.

Approach To Change

Change is inevitable. Fighting and resisting it is such a waste of time. In fact, change for me is opportunity not a threat. With that attitude, I have always tried make the most of change. I am very happy to challenge the status quo constantly. It is always ‘why not’ rather ‘why’ for me. Sure, experience is important, but in a constantly changing world you can’t drive ahead looking at your rear- view mirror.

What are you really into outside of work?

Sports (Golf and Squash) and family are important for me. And travel is so fulfilling. Besides that, I am interested in art, particularly Indian contemporary art.

5 key roles of a successful leader

The ability to build a good team that works well together.

Defining the objectives and goals that this team is shooting for and the purpose behind it.

Build a strong culture of transparency, trust and collaboration in this team and in the organization.

Learn to delegate. Empower people. Let them fly.

Develop future leaders.

How do you see the company changing in two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?

I have been driving aggressive growth. We will get this growth by doing new things. For that, we have to change our current capability set and hire people from diverse backgrounds. I look at change as opportunity, but an organization can exploit the new opportunities only if they are quick, nimble and willing to challenge the status quo. I believe we will have to move to a ‘fluid’ organization structure. A structure that changes depending upon the client needs and the nature of the assignment.

One word that describes you the best


Would you rather be respected or feared and why?

Respected. You can achieve much more if you are respected than feared. Besides, you can be feared because you have authority while respect has to be earned.

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