Ex-dentsu’s Narayan Devanathan joins the National Foundation for India as Chief Strategy & Communications Officer

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Ex-dentsu’s Narayan Devanathan joins the National Foundation for India as Chief Strategy & Communications Officer

One of the key pillars of civil society in India, the National Foundation for India (NFI) has announced the appointment of Narayan Devanathan, former Chief Client Officer of dentsu International India, as its Chief Strategy & Communications Officer.


NFI was founded in 1992 by Bharat Ratna C. Subramaniam and M.S. Swaminathan – the two key architects of the Green Revolution, along with Dr. Kamla Chowdhry – a pioneering educationist and institution builder.

NFI’s trustees over the years include former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Ratan Tata, S.P. Godrej, Dr. Devaki Jain, Dr. Verghese Kurien and Begum Bilkees Lateef, among other luminaries. Since 1992 NFI has been undertaking pioneering work in building the foundations for progress-creating (check) initiatives driven by a vision of a plural, equitable and democratic society.

Biraj Patnaik, Executive Director of NFI, said: “As a key cog in the wheel of civil society, NFI has been strengthening hundreds of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) for the past three decades to function at the intersection of the state, market and citizens. As India moves forward, our job is to help all three actors—government, corporates and citizens—ensure as few people as possible are left behind, by law, by culture or by community. I’m delighted to have Narayan come on board this journey and help shape the narrative to create greater impact not just for NFI but for all the stakeholders in this critical movement.”

After an 11-year stint at Dentsu and a career spanning over 25 years in advertising, this is a significant shift for Devanathan.

Devanathan said: “I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert in this field nor am I coming with any illusions of being a change-maker here. There are thousands of incredible people doing incredible work for the country, and I hope I can make a contribution by helping convey their stories with greater impact—for themselves and for all of us. Civil Society plays an extraordinarily important role in the smooth functioning of a democracy and I feel incredibly lucky to get this opportunity to be a part of it. I am hoping to rope in as many of my colleagues from advertising and the industry in this journey together.”