India Today Group has appointed Vivek Khanna as the Group CEO. He will report to Vice Chairperson, Kalli Purie, who had told BestMediaInfo.com earlier this week that the announcement regarding this appointment would be made soon.
The announcement was made by Group Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Aroon Purie in an internal communication today.Â
âI am excited about Vivek joining us. With his background plus track record and our bench strength, I am confident he will bring structure, process discipline and marketing muscle to our creative genius so we can scale new heights. In all of you, I know I have the best team in the industry which makes me so proud. Now with the new leadership in place, I look forward to a year of exponential growth,â Purie wrote in his communication.
âApart from his strategic thinking and marketing expertise, I have selected Vivek because he is a âpeopleâ person. He has an inclusive style of leadership, works hard and with passion, is goal oriented, pays attention to details, and builds teams. He believes that the right person in the right job is the only formula for good decisions, growth, and organizational success. Like me, Vivek leads from the trenches. He is known for personally going out to close partnerships and service clients,â added Purie.
Khanna comes with 26 years of experience in strategy, sales, and marketing. An alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad, Khanna began his career with Hindustan Unilever and Aviva Life Insurance. He moved to HT Media in 2008. Since 2013, he has been the Chief Executive Officer of Hindustan Media Ventures Limited.Â
Khannaâs most impressive accomplishments include the turnaround of HT products and brands. Last year, Hindustan Media Ventures was ranked amongst the Top 5 fastest growing listed companies in India. By making the âHindustanâ product stronger, more visible, increasing circulation, and asking for higher advertising rates, Khanna expanded the companyâs profitability. He ran 20 main editions and 140 sub editions of the newspaper.Â
Khanna grew the advertising revenue of Hindustan by 14% between 2013-16; this was 4-10% faster than competition. Operating EBITDA grew at more than 30% p.a. in this period. Further, circulation of the newspaper increased by over 30%. The top line increased from Rs. 600 crores to Rs. 1000 crores and the companyâs market cap doubled to over 2000 crores. Hindustan is the #1 player in readership in the 5 states it operates in. Its EBITDA margins have increased from 17% to 25%.Â
As Business Head of Mint, Khanna identified the key reasons why someone would advertise in Mint since it was a new player in the crowded business paper market. He worked on strengths like better paper, superior product, and clutter-free layout. With these differentiators, his team reached out to premium advertisers, and not everyone, creating the impression that only the best are seen on Mint. This approach resulted in advertising revenue growth of 30-40% per annum. Apart from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore where Mint was already present, it increased operations and circulation to Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad. Khanna also launched Indiaâs first international newspaper in Singapore: MintAsia.
Establishing AVIVA as a brand in India and South East Asia is another key highlight of Khannaâs career. At Aviva, he won the âMost Innovative and Best Marketer Awardâ across their global offices. He has also won Director awards for Marketing at Unilever. Khanna is on the jury for several national marketing awards.