Tata Consultancy Services, one of the world's largest internet technology and consulting companies, has appointed former Droga5 CEO Andrew Essex senior managing partner to help lead its digital services business, TCS Interactive.
Former Droga5 CEO Andrew Essex named senior managing partner at consulting giant TCS
TCS Interactive is a digital marketing and transformation unit within TCS focused on user experience as seen through the lens of the chief marketing officer, said Essex. “It's really about harmonizing design, technology, and data to drive growth for brands,” he said in an interview.
Although it may not be well-known in the U.S., TCS is a formidable force. For the fiscal year ended March 31, TCS reported global revenue of $27.9 billion. That's just under half the $62 billion in global revenue posted by Accenture last year and Deloitte's $59.3 billion in global revenue reported during that time frame.
By comparison, advertising’s largest holding company, WPP, posted over $17 billion in revenue last year.
‘The Indian century’
As part of his role, Essex said he will be focused on “elevating the business from its focus on CIOs to the needs of CMOs.” This will include acquisitions and adding talent to TCS.
“I've been watching India for some time. Jeff Bezos said this is the Indian century and the geopolitics certainly support that,” Essex said. (TCS’ parent company is Indian multinational conglomerate Tata Group, which posted 2022 revenue of $128 billion.)
“It’s fun to watch Indian companies emerge and TCS is an incredible player, probably the biggest part of the biggest company in India,” Essex said. “I had been consulting for the company and was fascinated by what they were doing, amazed by their incredible expertise, and then the opportunity came up to make it into a full-time relationship and I jumped at the chance.”
Essex has hired four former agency executives to lead a new marketing advisory group within TCS Interactive.
Stephen Starring Grant joins as partner, strategy for TCS Interactive, from Horizon Media, where he was most recently senior VP, human intelligence. Nick Allen, most recently VP, managing director at R/GA New York, joins as a partner, accounts. Preeti Patel, who has worked at agencies such as R/GA, Huge, and 360i, joins as a partner, technology for TCS Interactive. Elena Dussaq, managing director at Beekman Social, joins TCS as a partner, operations.
Essex said he will also be helping attract former CMOs to advise the team. Currently, the company has four CMOs as advisors, one of which is Chris Burggraeve, a former global CMO of Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Essex was one of the first employees at Droga5 and eventually became CEO. He departed the agency in 2015 and shortly after became the CEO of Tribeca Enterprises. After departing Tribeca in 2017, Essex launched several ventures including Plan A, which was meant to be a network of agencies before it “quietly wound down” during the pandemic, said Essex.
Most recently Essex focused on his own consultancy called GoingConcern, which will be shut down as part of Essex’s transition.
Essex calls TCS the “unknown incumbent,” noting that awareness is a challenge for the consulting titan, particularly in the U.S. Despite this, North America accounts for 53.4% of its revenue.
Essex declined to name specific clients for TCS. The company in a statement said it services nine of the top ten U.S. commercial banks, 10 of the top U.S. insurance companies, the top 10 U.S. retail companies, five of the top six U.S. airlines, four of the top five U.S. telecom companies and eight of the top U.S. pharmaceutical companies.
One recent example of work from TCS Interactive is a chatbot it built to act as a virtual assistant for attendees of the New York City Marathon, which TCS sponsors.
An industry trend
Other major consulting companies have also been building units dedicated to digital transformation and communication, such as Accenture Song, which posted $16 billion in revenue last year, according to Ad Age’s Datacenter, and is led by Essex’s former colleague David Droga, who is CEO.
“The interactive space is quite huge and I think there's room for several different players and we are completely differentiated in that regard,” Essex said.
Though TCS Interactive currently has $1 billion in revenue, Essex said he sees many opportunities for growth.
“TCS is 54 years old, and for all intents and purposes, it really invented the model for the IT service industry,” he said. “The contextual knowledge and the domain expertise are unrivaled. And that's a really important distinction. [TCS has] always been in information technology and building from that core capability makes it extremely formidable in that regard.”