Viacom18 has quickened the pace for launching its Hindi general entertainment channel, and the core team is in place already, with the exception of the marketing head. The latest senior appointment is that of Karthik Lakshminarayan, who comes in as Head of Business Planning and Strategy.
Lakshminarayan comes from Madison Communications, where he was working with Madison Media Infinity as COO. At Madison, Lakshminarayan had worked on brands such as Cadbury India, Godrej Industries, Marico Ltd, and Asian Paints, among others. Prior to that, he had been with agencies such as Initiative Media and Leo Burnett.
Rajesh Kamat, CEO, Viacom18 GEC, was not available for comments at the time of filing the report, but highly placed executives have confirmed the development.
As is known, Viacom18 had appointed Kamat in late 2007 to head the GEC as CEO. Kamat was with Endemol India at the time, and was associated with the launch of Endemol’s operations in India as MD. Prior to that, he was with STAR India.
Even before the appointment of a CEO, Viacom18 had roped in Ashwini Yardi as Content and Creative Head for the channel. Yardi was with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd before that and had played a key role in getting shows like ‘Saath Phere’, ‘Kasamh Se’ and ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ amongst many others that have changed Zee’s fortunes in the ratings game.
Simran Hoon came on board Viacom18 as Head of Sales of the GEC. She had moved from Zee TV, where she had joined in April 2005. Hoon has over 14 years’ experience in the sales field. Having worked across organisations such as The Times of India, SET India, and after a significant spell at Star India in the sales function, she joined Zee TV.
The only remaining role for Viacom18 GEC to now fill is that of Marketing Head. Industry sources informed that Viacom18 was close to finalising a marketing head as well and that more could be expected on that in a week’s time.