A look at the major people movements of 2019

Almost every month of 2019 saw some high profile people movements; exchange4media takes a stock at some of those that created quite a stir

e4m by Shikha Paliwal
Published: Dec 24, 2019 9:37 AM  | 4 min read
People movements

The year 2019 saw several high profile people movements in the advertising and marketing industry. We witnessed a steady stream of appointments and resignations, and many stepping down from key positions to pursue entrepreneurial ambitions.

While some announcements took the industry by surprise, others were on predictable lines. Either ways, the news of people moving from one organisation to another or quitting entirely kept media newsrooms buzzing all year round.

We’ve put together some of the highlights from the year gone by:

The news of former Star and Disney India MD, Sanjay Gupta, joining Google India as their Country Manager and Vice President of Sales and Operations was definitely one that took everyone by surprise. The development came several months after Rajan Anandan, once the face of Google in India, quit the company to join Sequoia. Meanwhile, media veteran K Madhavan was appointed Country Head of Star and Disney India but the job of overseeing Hotstar has remained with Uday Shankar, Chairman of Star and Disney in India.

Interestingly, the saga of people movements at Google India did not end here. December saw the resignation of Vikas Agnihotri as Country Director - Sales, Google India. Agnihotri was Interim Google India Head after Anandan left the organisation. His future plans are not known yet.

There was much speculation as to where former Times Network President and COO Nikhil Gandhi would move to after he resigned from the organisation. His appointment by ByteDance-owned Tiktok as its new India head, therefore, caught most off guard. The other high profile appointment at ByteDance was that of Sameer Singh as VP - Monetisation (India). He was formerly with WPP-owned media agency GroupM where he held the position of CEO leading South Asia operations.

While former CEO of Network18 Digital, Manish Maheshwari, was appointed MD for Twitter India, Viacom18 roped in Gourav Rakshit as COO for Viacom18 Digital Ventures. Truecaller announced the appointment of former Flipkart executive Sandeep Patil as its Managing Director in May this year.

The advertising industry also saw its fair share of movements and appointments. After Dentsu Aegis Network announced the elevation of Ashish Bhasin as CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network APAC, Anand Bhadkamkar was promoted as CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network India. He continues to report to Bhasin.

Harish Shriyan stepped down from his role as CEO of Omnicom Media Group India. Deven Dharamdasani was appointed CEO, SVG Media, following the unfortunate and untimely demise of Anurag Gupta, former CEO, SVG Media, in July.

Meanwhile, Hari Krishnan was appointed CEO of Mullen Lintas. Krishnan moved from Lowe Lintas where he was President and spearheading their South operations.

Among other high profile movements that marked 2019 was former BARC India CEO Partho Dasgupta stepping down to make way for Sunil Lulla.  Lulla had only recently exited Balaji Telefilms as their CEO in August to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions. The entrepreneurial bug, in fact, bit others too this year with SonyLIV’s former Business Head Uday Sodhi quitting to start his own venture. Raj Nayak, who had earlier announced his departure as the COO of Viacom18, too launched his new company called House of Cheer. Gayatri Yadav quit as Star India’s President of Consumer Strategy & Innovation to start her own business.

After spending 20 years at the organisation, Sneha Rajani, Head of Sony Pictures Networks (SPN’s) film production division, Sony Pictures Networks Productions (SPNP), too decided to move on.

The media industry perhaps saw the maximum churn in 2019. After only a year at Zee Media Corporation Ltd, Ashok Venkatramani resigned as its Managing Director. Meanwhile, TV9 announced the appointment of Barun Das as its new CEO.

Discovery Asia Pacific appointed Megha Tata, MD – South Asia, Discovery Communications India. Tata was earlier with English news channel Business Television India (BTVI).

There were some in the media industry who moved onto to face new challenges in other sectors. Ashu Phakey, Chief Operating Officer at HT Media, stepped down from his role after a stint of over 5 years and joined an FMCG major. Debabrata Mukherjee stepped down from the position of Executive Director at HT Media mid-February to join United Breweries as Chief Marketing Officer.

Another surprise move was that of Pradeep Dwivedi who put in his papers as the CEO of Sakal to turn his focus on a broadcast and investment business.

The list of appointments and resignations in 2019 is long and distinguished, the above in fact, maybe just the tip of an iceberg in a year which created quite a stir with its high profile people movements. Will the year 2020 too be an equally busy one? Something tells us it definitely will.

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