R/GA Chief Marketing Officer Ashish Prasar is departing the Interpublic Group of Cos. agency, effective Feb. 3.
R/GA CMO Ashish Prashar to depart
“His commitment to advocating for change in the world brought change to our own hiring processes, as well as our work,” R/GA CEO Sean Lyons said in a statement. “I’d like to thank Ash for bringing his passion and his service to work every day and wish him the best of luck with his next mission. He’s built a strong foundation that we will build upon.”
Lyons said that the agency’s Chief Growth Officer Alex Sehnaoui will focus on marketing efforts after Prashar’s departure while the agency searches for an executive to lead its external and internal communications.
Prashar, who joined R/GA in 2020, had an unusual background spanning both journalism and politics—he was press secretary for the former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and later worked on successful presidential campaigns for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
During his time at R/GA, Prashar helped the IPG agency launch a “Mark the Days” campaign, in collaboration with the nonprofit organization Clean Slate, to spread awareness for proposed legislation that would wipe minor offenses from the record of formerly incarcerated individuals. It's an issue he has been vocal about.
Prashar also used his political ties to help R/GA develop Welcome.US, a website to help refugees during the Afghanistan crisis in the summer of 2021. This effort generated more than 1 million unique visitors within the first 24 hours of the launch and led to the successful relocation of 9,000 Afghans to date with the help of Airbnb. That same platform is also being used to help Ukrainian refugees.
“As we look at many of the social justice movements that have brought about significant change in the world, exposure is the one thing that stands out for me. If those that are impacted most and the people that are able to make the change are not aware then it is impossible for such change to happen. Ashish understood this clearly,” said Michael “Zaki” Smith, an entrepreneur and activist that works with Clean Slate, said in a statement.
Prashar says he will be working on an autobiographical book that will touch his experience in politics, incarceration, and time as a journalist.
“I've had a transformative life experience, going from prison to working in politics to now working here as a CMO,” said Prashar, who was incarcerated for theft at age 17. “And always being the first is a lonely road. And I hope my story can inspire so many other people to believe that they can transform their lives, but also inspire businesses and society to look at formerly incarcerated people differently when they read that story.
The book will also touch on his time in the agency world at R/GA and Publicis with a focus on how he believes the power of the industry isn’t used to its full potential.
“I think it's used phenomenally for the businesses that we do work with. It's used to transform how they deal with customers and whatever else, but I only feel like we're scratching the surface of that power,” for doing good in the world, added Prashar.
Prashar hinted that he will be taking on a new role in a few months that isn’t exactly agency work, but “close to advertising.”
“Every single time I have made a career move or career change, it has been because it was my time. Now is that time for me as I continue my journey and move on to what’s next,” Prashar said. “I’m so grateful to R/GA for the confidence they had in me from the very beginning, and for the opportunity to see what could be accomplished by allowing me to bring my own flair and style to the role. I do know where I’m going from here and I promise it won’t be boring.”