HT Media is strengthening its brand and marketing team ahead of the proposed launch of its business newspaper as well as its foray into radio and magazines. Rajan Bhalla, currently Executive Vice-president – Consumer Insights (Marketing), Pepsico International, will be joining the company in July this year as Business Head for Hindustan Times’ proposed business daily. At the same time, Peter McCann, a marketing expert from Australia, is set to join HT Media from June 24, 2006, to work across various brands including radio.
These appointments have been announced by Rajiv Verma, CEO, HT Media. According to informed sources, Verma has prioritized HT Media’s business roadmap as follows: reinforce focus on customer and build strong brands; strengthen leadership team; develop a customer-centric product portfolio; refocus on the Hindi business; and launch radio, business paper and magazines businesses.
Bhalla will partner Raju Narisetti, Head of Editorial for the business paper, to define the strategy and build a team for the business daily to ensure its “successful entry in this lucrative segment where there is a clear need gap for a quality paper”. Bhalla has worked with McCann Erickson, Contract and Whirlpool before moving to Pepsico. He will report to Verma.
Narisetti, as reported earlier by exchange4media, has come in from Wall Street Journal, where he was Editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe and Deputy Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal.
Ranganath Thota, Head of Expansion Plans for New Editions, will lead the Magazines business for HT Media after the launch strategy for the business paper has been formulated. Ranga had joined HT Media in mid-January, 2005, as Business Head (West and South). He moved to Delhi last year when Sandip Ghosh, who joined HT Media as VP, Media Marketing, in June 2005, was made chief executive for HT’s Mumbai operation.
Peter McCann has wide experience in marketing across Asia and Australia in the consumer goods category. Currently a partner at Slater Marketing Group, Melbourne, he has previously worked with Cadbury Schweppes. McCann has also been National Marketing Head for Fosters Group, and Managing Director-North Asia, for Whirlpool.
McCann, it is learnt, will support Anand Bhardwaj, Vice-president, Marketing, and the marketing team of HT Media and HT Radio to help create dominant brand equity for the various brands.
Another key appointment has been that of Vinayak Purohit who is joining as Busines Head of the Finance division of HT Media. Purohit has worked with Brittania Industries, Marico, GE Countrywide, Rediff.com and BPL in senior leadership positions. He moves in from Crest Communications where he was CFO.
Verma is learnt to have said in an internal communication, “The changes are designed to create an organizational structure for HT Media that will optimize and strengthen leadership capabilities and support the organization’s growth and value ration strategy.”