MUMBAI—Former Perfect Relations head Valerie Pinto is to take charge of Weber Shandwick's Indian operations, the Holmes Report can reveal.
The move ends considerable speculation about Pinto's next destination, after she ended her 16-year tenure with Perfect Relations two months ago.
Pinto, who was national CEO at Perfect, is rated highly in Indian PR circles. Her arrival at Weber Shandwick comes 18 months after the Interpublic Group firm completed its buyout of Indian agency Corporate Voice.
She will work alongside Weber Shandwick India vice chairman Atul Ahluwahlia, taking on responsibility for the firm's business in India, and reporting to Asia-Pacific chairman Tim Sutton.
Aside from Ahluwahlia, Weber Shandwick's Indian management team will all report to Pinto. This includes client services MD Dilip Yadav; deputy MD Carolina Bajaj and EVP Mabel Phoon.
Sutton dubbed Pinto “a class act with a legendary reputation."
"In the last few months, I have spoken to very many senior people in India – at agencies and clients, in media and business — for advice on the very best person to take our business in India to the next stage of market leadership," he continued. "It was quite remarkable how many of them put Valerie at the very top of their ‘recommendation list’."
Upon leaving Perfect in September, Pinto told the Holmes Report that she would launch a food business. “She had many other options at this stage of her career, including running her own business, and I am so thrilled that our vision and ambition have persuaded her to join Weber Shandwick," said Sutton. "This appointment signals our absolute determination to become the market leader in India."
Pinto's departure from Perfect came with the firm involved in acquisition negotiations with MSLGroup. It is understood that the those talks have now reached a standstill, although other international agency suitors are believed to be interested.