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Conde Nast India announces key senior appointments

Jabir Merchant joins as Chief Digital Officer, Sales and Maharsh Shah appointed as Creative Producer, Fiction

(L) Jabir Merchant and Maharsh Shah (R)

Conde Nast India has announced the appointment of. The appointments are aimed at significantly strengthening the digital and video media offerings of the company while renewing the focus on Conde Nast India’s legacy print and events lines of businesses. Both will report to Alex Kuruvilla, Managing Director of Condé Nast India.

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Alex Kuruvilla

Speaking on the appointments, Kuruvilla said, “2021 will be a pivotal year for Condé Nast India as we further align our business to Condé Nast global priorities.Our mission is to position Condé Nast  India as a thought-leading, digital publisher and a preferred premium advertising platform for brands. To succeed, we have restructured and re-skilled our digital sales organisation that will fully leverage our strengths and tap new opportunities presented by the growth in digital advertising. At the same time, we will need to build on the strengths of our legacy business and gain more ground, developing even deeper relationships with advertisers. Together, Chief Digital Officer – Sales Jabir Merchant and Chief Business Officer Arjun Mehra, who oversees our legacy business, will be pivotal in leading this transition as we step into a new era.”

Merchant, who joins as the Chief Digital Officer – Sales, will lead the company’s digital strategy, drive the digital organization structure and define its monetization approach. He joins Condé Nast India from Zirca Digital Solutions, where he led multiple advertising-sales teams as the Senior Vice president and Head of Advertising. At Zirca, he was responsible for expansion of revenue, teams and businesses across geographies, as well as growing the Microsoft advertising search and display businesses in India, while achieving landmark profitability. Prior to Zirca, he represented brands such as Time, Cosmopolitan, CNBC TV 18, Zee Media and the BBC. Merchant has had a career spanning over two decades.

"While the media industry, and our world, are going through such change and disruption, it’s a privilege to join a team and company which is consistently recognized for its unchallenged voice and context,” said Merchant. “As we move forward, content and data will be the pillars marketers rely on, to drive their digital communications. I look forward to working with our teams in India, and across the world, to help define all that media can and will be, together.”

Shah, who joins as Creative Producer – Fiction, has been a content-development executive at some of India’s largest studios, and most recently was the Creative Director (Films) at Jio Studios. Shah has been brought on board to grow and lead the fiction long-form business, which will complement the work done by Anita Horam, at Conde Nast Video, who will continue to spearhead the non-fiction video arm. Shah specialises in identifying and executing ideas from script-to-screen in fiction, has directed a Cannes-showcased short film and is the author of a soon-to-be-published fiction trilogy for Harper Collins India. Shah has also been involved with the commissioning and developing of various Hindi movies and series.

Conde Nast Video India was launched in mid-2015 as a full-service creative and production division for long-form original content across web, television and OTT, and has worked with  TV broadcast partners such as Colors Infinity, Star World, Fox Life, AXN, Zee Cafe, CNBC TV-18, and OTT partners like Hotstar, Voot and Sony Liv. Some of the best known non-fiction shows produced by Condé Nast Video include the no-holds-barred, A-list celebrity talk show BFFs as well as the disruptive format breaker, Feet Up With The Stars.

"As a curator with an affinity towards being instrumental in developing stories for the screen, I am thrilled to join a leading, global mass media conglomerate such as Condé Nast and help shape, develop, produce and execute the brand's content pieces for long-form series and theatrical feature films, especially under the leadership of an industry pioneer like Mr. Alex Kuruvilla. The access to the repository of stories, articles and leading talent that Condé Nast enjoys, due to the image of its aspirational and heritage brands is absolutely first-rate and leveraging the same to create fiction properties with a local and global perspective is going to be thrilling to say the least," said Shah.

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