The Big Rejig of 2021-Part 1

e4m’s pick of top 12 changes in the government and digital domain

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Dec 30, 2021 9:04 AM  | 4 min read

Soon after the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown in 2020, ad industry across the world started reporting record number of leaders leaving their jobs. The exodus at the top continued even in 2021 and the trend was dubbed as ‘great resignation’. 

India too witnessed many top-level exits this year across domains. While changed market dynamics and consumer behaviour posed new challenges and opened up new opportunities in the digital domain leading to a reshuffle at the top, giants like Dentsu underwent consolidation resulting in a massive rejig. The I&B ministry also experienced change of guards. 

Here is e4m’s pick of top 12 changes at the top: 


Anurag Thakur

Young BJP leader from Himachal, Anurag Thakur assumed the charge of the information and broadcasting ministry this July after a Cabinet reshuffle. Thakur took over from Prakash Javadekar who is credited with bringing OTT and digital news platforms under the regulatory framework.

Apurva Chandra

IAS officer of Maharashtra cadre Apurva Chandra, who moved to central deputation a few years ago, took over as the new MIB secretary, replacing Amit Khare this August. Chandra was the labour secretary before and had served as chairperson of governing body of ILO as well. 


Vijay Subramaniam 

Vijay Subramaniam quit as the Director and Head of Content at Amazon Prime Video in September, ending his four-year stint with the platform. He spearheaded content strategy at a time when the OTT platform was focussed on strengthening its local content and regional language play, and premiered several direct-to-digital films amidst the pandemic. He has not announced his next move yet. 

Manish Maheshwari 

On December 15, former Twitter India Head Manish Maheshwari put in his papers to work on an ed-tech venture. Maheshwari, who had been transferred to the US in August this year, shared the development in a tweet. Maheshwari said he is partnering with Tanay Pratap of Microsoft. 

Gulshan Verma

Gulshan Verma signed off as Disney+ Hotstar’s SVP & Head, Advertising in the middle of the year and joined Mukesh Ambani’s JioAds as CEO in August. Reliance Jio, with 315 million mobile subscribers, is building an ad platform which will now be spearheaded by Verma. 

Shouneel Charles 

In November, Shouneel Charles quit Times Network as Executive Vice President and Business Head Digital after serving the company for five years to join the AdTech company Outbrain as managing director, India. 

Sandeep Balani

In September, Sandeep Balani quit as Outbrain’s Head of India after serving for four years to join Jio Platforms. In his new role, he will be responsible for building supply for Jio Platforms across e-commerce, gaming, OTT and news. 

Amit Malhotra 

Amit Malhotra’s exit as HBO Max’s Managing Director for Southeast Asia & India is perhaps the last reshuffle in the Indian digital agencies this year. News of his exit came this Tuesday. His further move is unclear so far. According to media reports, HBO Max International Head Johannes Larcher will be directly involved in the affairs of Southeast Asia and India markets following Malhotra's exit.

Tejinder Gill

After his five-year-long association with Truecaller as Vice President - Global Sales (South Asia, MENA, Sub Saharan Africa), Tejinder Gill quit the company this May to join The Trade Desk as General Manager.

Rajeev Dhal

Rajeev Dhal, the then Chief Revenue Officer of ZEE5, left the ZEEL-owned video streaming platform in September. He joined Singapore-based data collaboration platform provider Aqilliz that operates in SE Asia, India, and Middle East with plans to expand across Europe and US next year. 

Nikhil Gandhi 

Nikhil Gandhi, who joined TikTok as its India head in October 2019 and was elevated as Head — Middle East, Africa, Turkey & South Asia, parted ways with the company in May 2021. He joined MX Media, the company that owns and operates OTT platform MX Player and short-video platform MX TakaTak, as COO in August. 


Myleeta Aga

Netflix Director - Content SEA, Australia Myleeta Aga was perhaps the first big digital leader to quit this year. Based in Singapore, Aga joined Netflix in December 2019. Aga's departure follows an internal realignment of the Southeast Asia and Australia content teams.  

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