Mumbai: UK-based advertising agency BBH, which clocked $1.75 billion (about Rs8,697.5 crore) in global billings this year, will open its Mumbai office on Thursday, shrugging aside headwinds buffeting the economy.

BBH has in the past started businesses when the economy wasn’t in the best of health, said co-founder and worldwide creative director John Hegarty, who is in Mumbai for the opening of the office.

Lined up: BBH worldwide creative director John Hegarty. Ashesh Shah / Mint

“When we started in New York, in 1999, within a year, the dotcom boom had crashed."

Economic slowdown helps focus the agency on the values it is bringing to the marketplace, he said, and it also keeps costs low, enforcing discipline in time for the return of better times. Hegarty is in Mumbai along with chief executive officer Simon Sherwood. While the Publicis Groupe holds 49% of BBH, some members of its global team share stakes in the remaining 51%.

The Indian management team of Subhash Kamath, Partha Sinhaand Priti Nair Chakravarthy will have equal minority stakes in the local agency, which will be an independent set-up. UK operations director Paul Wardwill move here to take charge of the business, which should be up and running from 1 January once the rest of the team is hired.

BBH India is expected to tap Publicis Groupe’s media specialists such as Starcom Mediavest Group and Zenith Optimedia Pvt. Ltd to handle its media buying and planning.

BBH, with its ethos of when the world zigs, you zag, will compete for plum business with international ad networks here, said Hegarty.