Inside the big rejig at SPNI

The leadership restructuring is just a redistribution of responsibilities in the wake of Rohit Gupta's transition to an advisory role and Saurabh Yagnik's exit, say sources

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Published: Jul 27, 2021 8:20 AM  | 4 min read

Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) has given additional responsibilities to its existing leadership team as part of its Vision 3.0 strategy. The NP Singh-helmed company has made top-level changes as part of its future growth strategy.

As part of the reorganisation, Rohit Gupta, Chief Revenue Officer – Ad Sales and International Business, will take up an advisory role. Another key development is the exit of Saurabh Yagnik, head - monetisation strategy & consumer insights, from the company.

According to sources, the portfolio held by Gupta and Yagnik has been re-allocated to other senior executives of the company. Sandeep Mehrotra, who was earlier EVP- Sales, has been appointed Head - Ad Sales, Network Channels. In his new role, he will directly report to the CEO.

"Mehrotra is an old Sony hand having spent over two decades at the company. He has been working closely with Gupta to grow the ad sales business. That experience will come in handy in the new role," the source said, on condition of anonymity.
According to another source, the company has put in place a strong leadership team to steer the company ahead in the changing business landscape. "The company is building a new leadership structure for the future by giving additional responsibilities to its senior executives."

In a statement, the company praised Mehrotra for his proven track record in driving revenues and delivering efficiencies to clients and businesses. Within SPN, he has moved multiple channels, regions and ranks and has invested his time in curating long-term client relationships.

Rajesh Kaul has got the additional responsibility of International Sales with Neeraj Arora, who currently heads International Sales, reporting directly to him. He will work in collaboration with the digital team to expand SPNI’s brand presence and reach across the world. Currently, Kaul is the Chief Revenue Officer – Distribution and Business Head – Sports.

"Overall, there are no major changes in the SPNI leadership team. It's merely a redistribution of responsibilities. Sony has a strong management team that is delivering well. It is the biggest and most profitable business of Sony Pictures Television," one of the sources added.

In FY20, SPNI had recorded revenue of Rs 5846.2 crore, a 7.34% drop compared to Rs. 6309.9 crore in the previous financial year. According to regulatory filings, the company's FY20 net profit had zoomed by 181% to Rs 975.9 crore as against Rs 346.4 crore a year ago. SPNI's advertising revenue had dropped by 13.31% to Rs 2755.58 crore in FY20 while subscription income grew 21.17% to Rs 2378.75 crore.

Having joined Sony in April 2002, Gupta is credited with building the network's advertising business besides growing the international syndication revenues in his almost two-decade-old association with the company. He will now take on the responsibility of being SPN’s Advisor to the Management and the Board. In this new role, he will be advising senior management on industry trends, developments and work closely with the CEO on various industry issues that could positively impact the company’s strategy and growth.

As head - monetisation strategy & consumer insights, Yagnik's responsibility was to lead the identification of organic and inorganic monetisation opportunities in partnership with the revenue and channel heads, to increase SPNI's participation in the marketplace. He spent close to a decade in SPNI having joined the network as Sony Pix business head in 2012.

Among other major changes, Danish Khan, Business Head – Sony Entertainment Television, Digital Business and StudioNext, will take additional charge of Network Channels Licensing. As part of the new role, Khan will look at licensing opportunities on TV as well as digital.

Tushar Shah, Business Head, English, Factual Entertainment & Sony Aath, will take on an additional role of the newly created position of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for the network. As the CMO, Shah will be responsible for taking the corporate brand to the consumer and furthering its reach. This is in addition to growing the market share of the English and Factual entertainment portfolios.

Aditya Mehta, in addition to his current role of Corporate Strategy and Business Development, will spearhead the formation of the Data Analytics Centre of Excellence (CoE) to strengthen the network’s approach to being a data-driven organization. He would also be responsible for Business Monetization which will leverage the power of data and act as a bridge between Digital & Linear revenue opportunities.

SPNI Chief Finance Officer (CFO) Nitin Nadkarni will take additional charge of the Broadcast Operations and Network Engineering (B.O.N.E) department. Kingshuk Bhattacharya, Head B.O.N.E., will now report to Nitin. The B.O.N.E department is tasked with building and integrating the best in class production and post-production facilities.

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