Omnicom hires Unilever account chief from Lowe

Asit Mehra's move to DDB is a blow to IPG in the struggle for Unilever business

Omnicom has poached Interpublic Group's Asit Mehra, a director on Lowe Worldwide's global Unilever account, as it seeks to strengthen its hold on the business.

Lowe's London-based account chief and global planning director is expected to be based at DDB Worldwide's London office.

Mehra will report to Omnicom's chief executive, John Wren. It is not clear whether he will work exclusively for DDB Worldwide or across the Omnicom group.

Before taking the job at Omnicom, Mehra was in talks with WPP about working in a Unilever-facing role at JWT.

Lowe insiders said that Mehra will not be replaced at Lowe Worldwide, where he was primarily responsible for Unilever's international personal care brands.

The Lowe chairman, Tony Wright, is understood to be taking a more prominent role in the handling of the network's Unilever business.

Mehra is thought to be close to Unilever's international food business and is reported to have a good relationship with its president, Manvinder Singh Banga.

Mehra was hired by Lowe Worldwide's former chairman and chief executive, Jerry Judge. Before heading Lowe's Unilever account, Mehra was the network's executive vice-president for Asia-Pacific.

Comment, page 52.