KPMG Australia appoints Sudeep Gohil as Head of Brand Strategy

14 August 2018 4 min. read
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In another show of muscle from the consulting industry in the battle for global domination of the creative and digital space, KPMG have cherry-picked creative industry veteran Sudeep Gohil. Gohil has spent 20 years pioneering through creative agencies, notably as CEO of Droga5 in Australia and recently as Managing Partner/CSO of Publicis in India.

Sudeep Gohil has been appointed as the Head of Brand Strategy at KPMG Australia in a move that bolsters the professional services firm’s creative, brand and market capabilities. The announcement comes only weeks after KPMG acquired Sydney-based innovation consultancy UDKU and the firm brought in ex-Publicis CEO Andrew Baxter, both in a power play to boost the firm’s growing Customer, Brand and Marketing Advisory (CBMA) business. 

The position, which drew Gohil back to Australia, appealed to the brand expert due to KPMG’s late entry into the creative digital industry. Gohil in an interview with Mumbrella said that this gave him a unique opportunity to work on a brand that needs improvement. Before accepting the position, he had been in contact with all of the Big Four firms in Australia but ultimately took KPMG up on their offer due to the nature of the challenge. 

“Because KPMG has not established what they are doing and how they are going to do it, they’re late to the game, which from my perspective was an opportunity to help build the time, shape the offering, figure out what’s up and down. That is exactly why I was keen to join them because they hadn’t exactly already made all their moves and figured out everything about everything.”

“Of the various consulting firms and of the ‘big four’, KPMG is arguably later to be setting out what their intent is and how they view the world. From that perspective, I think the KPMG brand needs work because whilst it is incredibly trusted and it is incredibly well respected, what it stands for and how still remains to be seen.”

KPMG Australia appoints Sudeep Gohil as Head of Brand Strategy

Traditionally, the firm was firmly stuck in the audit, tax and advisory services but has recently been tweaking its CBMA business to gain a competitive edge. The firm’s main rivals have solidified their expanse into this realm with Accenture Interactive’s recent acquisition spree, PwC appointing Russel Howcroft as Chief Creative Office and Deloitte Digital picking up awards at the Cannes Lions

However, according to Gohil, “KPMG doesn’t want to be doing advertising. KPMG as a business is not interested in getting involved in every single aspect of the process. However, my view is that clients are already moving to a model which is better suited to the consulting model which is clients not paying retainers for their agencies.”

“They are already working on a project basis and consultancies have been set up specifically to work in that project by project basis.” For Gohil, this was the crux of his decision to move across from the agency world into the consulting industry. “Consulting firms are already set up on one part to be better bread for that kind of behaviour.” 

Gohil’s entry into the consulting world comes after 20 years of creative agency experience. He spent 8 years with the recently closed Droga5, helping set the business up in Australia, and also co-founded health-tech startup Tyde. The new head of brand strategy has also worked with 72andSunny, BBH and Wieden+Kennedy across Asia, Europe, the USA and Australia and has teamed up with Nike, EA, Levi's, Starbucks, Coca Cola, Tooheys, Playstation, Virgin and P&G.

Speaking about his decision to move on from Publicis, he said, “I just thought I want to try and do something different and I want to try and be looking forward rather than looking back, and with the greatest of respect to all the agencies I have ever worked for and all the people I have ever worked with, I just thought I wanted to do something that was different and future-facing rather than looking in the other direction.” 

Margaret Cowle, National Managing Partner Brand & Engagement for KPMG Australia added, “Besides capturing his skills for the benefits of our clients, Sudeep will also play an important role in shaping KPMG’s own brand in Australia, working with our internal brand, marketing and communications team to help further differentiate what KPMG means in an ever-evolving market. We are incredibly excited to have him join the firm.”