Hires & Promotions: GroupM, Viacom18, Saatchi & Saatchi Propagate

Here's a quick update on new hirings, promotions and people movements in the past week

GroupM India Strengthens Its Leadership Team

GroupM India has promoted Vinit Karnik from the Business Head of GroupM’s Entertainment & Sports practice (ESP) to the Head – Sports, Esports and Entertainment, GroupM South Asia and Karthik Nagarajan, from Chief Content Officer for Wavemaker India to the Head of Branded Content, GroupM India.

 “Disruption and evolution go hand in hand and it also brought in opportunities in the content, sports and entertainment space and it is consistently redefining the market place. Over the years, we have been building these spaces by shaping great solutions for our clients. While we will continue to build on advertising technologies that will add speed and scale, we are equally committed to enhance our creative process and enable larger solutions in the content space. We are fortunate to witness leadership grow within as they bring in experience, adaptivity and inventiveness for being fit for the future. These leadership appointments signify our commitment to the journey and I am confident in both Vinit and Karthik’s abilities and together we look forward to creating great solutions and opportunities for our clients as well as our partners,” said Prasanth Kumar, CEO of GroupM South Asia on their appointment.

Vinit is a GroupM veteran who joined us over 14 years ago and has been at the forefront of some of the high profile, high-value sponsorship and consulting deals in the business of sports and entertainment. Under him, GroupM witnessed the launch of thought leadership for Indian sports and entertainment reports titled ‘Sporting Nation in the Making’ and ‘Showbiz’ respectively. Before joining GroupM in 2006 Vinit was a part of the film fraternity in Mumbai, heading the film production & distribution business of Padmalaya Telefilms and Prasad Film Labs postproduction studio.

“The new-age consumers have a better understanding of advertising and this can be seen by their ongoing interactions with brands and readiness for participation.  The demand for higher personalization shows that. Data indicates that delivering high-quality personalized content is what sets successful brands apart from their competitors. Today a brand has various means to reach out to its audience be it via sports, social media, eSports, influencers etc. Hence by strengthening our offerings and by bringing together creative optimization and data, we want to ensure that the brands get to reach their consumers with content, which is highly personalized, effective and relevant for them,” commented Karnik.

Karthik spent a significant part of his early career in consulting, as a practice head for Frost & Sullivan in the United States. Before joining GroupM in 2011, Karthik set up Nielsen’s online division and was also the India Country Head for NM Incite, the joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey for social media consulting in India. He set up the social media practice for GroupM India, which also included its foray into advocacy. Karthik also evangelised the data agenda for GroupM by building its social analytics practice, products like Radar and the command centre offering. In 2015, Karthik conceived and launched Brew, which became the premier content up-front event for not just GroupM but the industry as well.

“Content is a cultural intervention for a brand and the need to be authentic has never been more critical. Hence the journey of an idea today is seeped in data-led audience truths as much as it is in creativity. From an era when brands rode the trend waves, we are well and truly in a phase where brands author their sub-cultures. This is what makes it an extraordinary time to be in this industry. I am looking forward to taking on this additional responsibility at GroupM, at a time when the lines between content and commerce are blurring," shared Nagarajan.

 In their new roles, Karthik & Vinit will report to Prasanth Kumar, CEO of GroupM South Asia.

Viacom18 Makes Key Hires To Its Digital Ventures Business Team

Viacom18 has onboarded Chanpreet Arora as Business Head – AVOD (Voot), and of Vineet Govil as Chief Technology Officer at Viacom18 Digital Ventures. 

In her new role Chanpreet Arora will drive the AVOD business - VOOT and will be responsible for leading AVOD led partnerships that are key to VOOT’s overall growth. Vineet will be responsible for strengthening the product’s tech play by offering a more seamless and immersive experience for consumers.

Chanpreet has close to 2 decades of experience across strategy, revenue, partnerships and sales operations with media and digital brands. She was responsible for successfully launching VICE Media in India as its CEO. She was also associated with The New York Times, Times Internet Limited, Buddh International Circuit – Formula One, India, and Ernst & Young in her previous roles.

Prior to joining Viacom18 Digital Ventures, Vineet was heading Sling Media Pvt Ltd’s (a subsidiary of DISH Network Inc, USA) India Development Centre as Vice President. With over 26 years of experience in product and technology development across domains, Vineet’s career spans across areas of Embedded Software, Multimedia Streaming (OTT), IoT and Wireless Telecom, Cloud and more. He was also a part of Sasken Technologies Ltd and ISRO Ahmedabad.

Welcoming Chanpreet and Vineet to the Digital Ventures family, Gourav Rakshit, COO, Viacom18 Digital Ventures said, “We are delighted to welcome Chanpreet  and Vineet to our team as we accelerate our growth to transform the digital streaming space for our users. While Chanpreet is a recognized expert in the Indian media industry with an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the entire digital ecosystem, Vineet is a domain expert and is recognized for building world class products through continuous technological innovations. Together with their, exemplary leadership and ability to innovate, we are certain of taking Viacom18 Digital Ventures to greater heights. We are confident that we will further consolidate our position through a more digital-first focused approach.”

“It’s a pleasure to join the Viacom18 Digital Ventures Team to lead the AVOD Business. My journey in the digital ecosystem has been enriching so far. I look forward to working with the team at Viacom18 to grow the business further and deliver significant value to our partners,” expressed Arora.

“I am excited to be a part of a business that is young and successful with 3 distinct offerings. I look forward to working with the digital team on enhancing the platforms and hope to bring in some excitement from a viewers’ perspective. Streaming is all about experience and this is something we will work closely on to accelerate growth," stated Govil.

Chanpreet and Vineet’s appointments are with immediate effect.

Priya Jayaraman Steps Down As CEO Of Saatchi & Saatchi Propagate

Saatchi & Saatchi Propagate (S&S Propagate) has announced the departure of its CEO, Priya Jayaraman.

Jayaraman said, “It’s been a decade of a journey of creating a digital agency from inception and seeing it through to becoming a part of a global entity. I feel blessed and humbled to have met such fabulous colleagues who built their careers here, of many clients who trusted their journey with us, and partners without whose support this journey would have been impossible. I am carrying with me stories, learnings, friendships and a whole lot of gratitude for a lifetime.”

Following the development, Charles Victor, has been elevated as the chief operating officer at Saatchi & Saatchi Propagate. Victor will be responsible for driving business growth and strategic direction at the agency while also continuing to serve as the executive director of L&K Saatchi & Saatchi. He will continue to report into Paritosh Srivastava, managing director, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi.

The agency has also announced the appointment of Sabah Iqbal as senior vice president and head – S&S Propagate. She will report into Victor and will be responsible for furthering business growth at the agency. Iqbal joins the agency from Digitas where she was senior vice president west and south and managed some of the key brands at the agency including Puma, Hindustan Unilever, Nivea, Nissan, Mondelez among others.

Srivastava said, “Would like to thank Priya immensely for her contribution and hard work in making SSP into a powerful digital offering with a national footprint with some amazing client partners and talent.”

He added, “Charles Victor has been with LKSS for 15 years, working across creative, mainline and digital. He’s got a perfect mix of business, creative and technology that one could have asked for to take on SSP. He’s a trusted and true partner for clients and agency alike. Joining him will be Sabah Iqbal, who with 15 years of enviable pedigree brings with her a unique creative lens combined with astute knowledge and expertise across mainline, digital and media. I am excited to partner the duo in the next chapter of growth at the agency.”

Victor commented, “Firstly, we cannot thank Priya enough for the tremendous legacy she leaves behind for all of us. She and the team have accomplished so much in a short span of time on the creative and the business front, attracting an enviable bunch of partner brands around the Saatchi & Saatchi Propagate fireplace. For me, it isn’t so much about taking on the reins at Saatchi & Saatchi Propagate but the excitement of helping our partners unlock growth and deliver dynamic, diverse, disruptive creative in the platform world.”

Viacom18 Appoints Sagnik Ghosh As Business Head - COLORS Bangla

Viacom18 has named Sagnik Ghosh as Business Head, COLORS Bangla. Sagnik will be taking over from Rahul Chakravarti who cemented the channel’s position as the third ranked GEC in the highly competitive Bengali market. Sagnik will be reporting to Rajesh Iyer, Head - Regional Entertainment (Bangla, Odia, Tamil and Gujarati Clusters), Viacom18.

A cross industry veteran with over 2 decades of experience panning Media and Entertainment, Advertising and BFSI industries, Sagnik, in his previous assignments, had led Star Jalsha and Star Bharat to leadership positions in their respective markets and genres.

“Regional is an important growth driver for Viacom18 and West Bengal is an important market for us. I’d like to thank Rahul for his contribution and wish him the very best in his future endeavours.” Noted Rajesh Iyer, Head - Regional Entertainment (Bangla, Odia, Tamil and Gujarati Clusters), Viacom18, adding, “Sagnik brings three important aspects to this role – his knowledge of the Bengali entertainment industry, his understanding of consumer preferences and his marketing expertise which cumulatively will dial up both the brand and the business.”

On his new role Sagnik said, “The Bengali broadcast entertainment market provides considerable opportunities and is known for its creative prowess for producing content that is often taken to other markets. COLORS Bangla has a rich legacy and now is time to grow further and challenge the market leaders. Together, with the dedicated and talented team, I look forward to propel COLORS Bangla to greater heights.” 

Prior to joining Viacom 18, Sagnik has worked with Star India as Executive Vice-President and Business Head, Star Jalsha and Jalsha Movies (Bengal Cluster). In the Hindi Speaking Market, Sagnik had led the brand revamp of Star Plus, and re-launched Life OK as Star Bharat and led it to a Number 1 position. In Bengal, Sagnik helped in the turnaround of Star Jalsha and got it back to Number 1 position. Prior to joining the Media and Entertainment industry, Sagnik worked with some of the top BFSI brands like Axis Bank, HSBC etc.