President, PAFI
Chief Executive Officer,
Burson Group India

Deepshikha Dharmaraj

With three decades of rich and diverse experience in public relations and integrated communications, Deepshikha Dharmaraj is one of the most respected leaders in the industry in India. Till recently, the CEO of BCW India Group, she now takes over as Chief Executive Officer, Burson Group India, which includes Burson Genesis, GCI Health India and Hill & Knowlton India. In this role she manages the overall business interests of Burson in India and implements its growth strategy encompassing people, clients and partners.

Deepshikha provides strategic counsel to the firm’s marquee clients and senior client leaders and is sought by them as a trusted advisor in good as well as turbulent times. A firm believer in conceptualising impactful campaigns, she champions creativity and measurement across the organization.

In her professional journey, Deepshikha has experienced every aspect of the business. After spearheading the communication mandates for some of the biggest clients at the firm, she led the regional expansion of the erstwhile Genesis PR in the west, setting up the Mumbai office in 1996 and Pune in 1998. She then went on to create the talent development framework as the Chief Talent Officer and Head of Learning and Development. As Chief Marketing & Growth Office, she led the acquisition and retention of key clients and built strong partnerships for new services and capability enhancements. And then combined all these roles as the Chief Business Growth Officer, before being named the CEO.

An active leader in India’s public relations industry initiatives, Deepshikha is a founding board member and currently the President of the India chapter of the Global Women in Public Relations (GWPR), a global organisation for senior women in PR and communications. She serves as the Managing Committee member and President of the Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI). She also served as President of the Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI) in 2008. Passionate about bringing creative ideas and measurement into communications, she has been jury for numerous prestigious award shows, including Cannes PR Lions, D&AD Awards, SABRE South Asia Awards, PR Week Awards, Campaign PR Awards India, Fulcrum Awards and IPRCCA amongst others. Deepshikha has also won several awards and recognition, including, most recently being named PR Professional of the Year at Indian PR & Corporate Communications Awards (IPRCCA) 2023 and CEO Of The Year by e4m Women’s Achievers Summit & Awards 2023. She was also listed among the top 25 PR and Communications professionals by Reputation Today, among the 100 Changemakers of PR and Corporate Communications by Exchange4Media, and PR Professional of the Year, by Campaign PR Awards India 2019 and IPRCCA 2019.

Deepshikha holds a master’s degree in business economics from Delhi University and is a firm believer in nurturing new talent. She spends time with students of communication at institutes like the WPP School and Xavier Institute of Communications, teaching and learning from them. She frequently takes part in leadership training and brand communications workshops, as an experienced trainer and participant.

She lives in Mumbai with her husband Atul Suri and son Sohum, spending weekends exploring new coffee shops and places to hang-out, reading and indulging in some mind and body work with yoga and meditation.