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HT Media rejigs management team for a ‘digital ready’ future

Amit Garg takes on the mantle of Executive Director (Digital Initiatives), while Shantanu Bhanja transitions into the newly created role of Chief Digital Officer. Rajan Bhalla has been designated as CMO

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | February 10, 2015


HT Media, in its endeavour to be a ‘digital ready’ enterprise, has embarked on what it terms as a ‘Digital Now’ journey. In a string of changes in its senior management ranks, Amit Garg moves into the role of Executive Director (Digital Initiatives), while Shantanu Bhanja has been appointed as the company’s first Chief Digital Officer.

Rajan Bhalla, who has been responsible for creating brands like Mint, StudyMate, Bridge, Fever and Shine, will be Chief Marketing Officer for all businesses. Meanwhile, Ashu Phakey will now be responsible for the complete P&L for HT Delhi as Business Head, and Vivek Khanna will be leading the Jaipur expansion strategy.

Rajiv Verma Rajiv Verma

Announcing the changes in an internal mail, Rajiv Verma, CEO, HT Media, said, “As the number of people using internet in India grows at an unprecedented speed, news organisations have to quickly move to bridge the digital divide that exists in their newsrooms in order to create a new future. We have embarked on an ambitious Digital Now journey and Project Butterfly will be creating a Digital Ready enterprise. I am confident that the digital transformation project of our company is off to a great start. With significant contracting and relocation work underway, this is the biggest project HT Media has embarked on in recent times.”

Verma also mentioned that this project is being led by Jai Menon, Nic Dawes, Neel Saxena and Rajesh Mahapatra along with many other senior leaders. “With an objective of providing sustainability to this initiative, significant leadership support will be required in future as well so that this can become a way of doing business and integrate with the digital economy once project butterfly is finished by third quarter of 2015,” he added.

Amit Garg Amit Garg

Amit Garg, who has been leading various digital initiatives in the company, in his new role as Executive Director (Digital Initiatives), will report to Verma and provide strategic direction to various ongoing and future digital initiatives. He will be leading the strategy team that will be guiding the enterprise change from “digital first” to “digital all”, making it the company’s mission to close the knowledge gap and bring everyone on board.

Shantanu Bhanja Shantanu Bhanja

Shantanu Bhanja, who is currently VP Marketing (HT), is responsible for two roles: marketing for the HT brand, and Business Head for HT Delhi. The latter role along with additional responsibility of Local Revenue and brand activation for HT Delhi will now move to Ashu Phakey, HT Media’s current National Circulation Head. With these developments, he will now take over as Business Head of HT Delhi.

Elaborating on Shantanu Bhanja’s new role as Chief Digital Officer, Verma explained that one of the key objectives will be to keep HT Media’s various content sites consumer and customer focused and monetize them suitably. “For this, a new role of Chief Digital Officer has been created. The Chief Digital Officer will lead the digital content efforts of the company to meet the challenges of a mobile world and that of new and emerging forms of competition. The CDO will work with Marketing, IT, Editorial, Finance and Media Marketing. He will have to build innovative revenue models for the projects that the Editors of HT, Hindustan, and Mint build. Finally, he will have to maintain focus and commitment of the organization towards executing our digital strategy for the next several years. The organisation under the CDO will be announced in due course.”

This role will be market facing and will be working closely with CIO and Editorial team leaders. In his new role, Bhanja will continue to report to Verma. In addition to his responsibilities as CDO, Bhanja will continue to be responsible for the marketing of some large format events such as the Leadership Summit and HT Delhi Product and Brand management supporting Delhi Business Head and Editorial team.

Ashu Phakey Ashu Phakey

Phakey, in his new role, will be responsible for the complete P&L for HT Delhi. Additionally, he will directly supervise the Local to Local revenues for HTD (excluding large Real Estate clients), circulation for HTD, brand activation, and local area marketing. As Business Head HT-Delhi, Phakey will work with various functions and departments to maximise profitability for the flagship edition. Consequent to this move, the reporting of all local circulation leads (except Delhi), will now move to their respective business heads.

Rajan Bhalla Rajan Bhalla

About Rajan Bhalla, the newly designated Chief Marketing Officer for all businesses, Verma noted, “Rajan has done a great job of turning around our magazines business.”

He elaborated, “This business will now be merged with the Media Marketing team to take advantage of scale along with other weekly and specialty brands. Rajan will be working towards developing the Events business for HT Media with advice from international players. All events that are currently done under different businesses will be consolidated under a separate P&L, under Rajan. This will not include Fever Entertainment and Leadership Summit. We will look for an international partner to take our formats overseas in due course.”

It is understood that over the next few weeks, both Bhanja and Phakey will transition into their new roles and there will also be some reorganisation in the company’s marketing and media marketing teams in Delhi, details of which will be announced later.

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