Hires & Promotions: Jio Studios, Carat, Disney+ Hotstar

Quick look at new hirings, promotions and people movements this week

Jio Studios Appoints Inox's Saurabh Varma As CMO

Saurabh Varma has moved to Jio Studios as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), where he will market films and web content. He joins the content production house from Inox Leisure where he held the same designation. 

At Inox, he was part of 700+ films and launched 500+ cinema screens. He spent three years and three months with the multiplex chain. Varma, who is an accomplished filmmaker, had returned to the corporate world after a gap of more than eight years when he joined Inox in May 2018.

Between his last corporate assignment with Reliance Entertainment as CMO and joining Inox, Varma had written and directed films and TV shows for almost eight years. He quit Reliance Entertainment in December 2009 to start his own film production company Saurabh Varma Pictures. In his entrepreneurial stint, he directed many feature films, digital films, and music videos.

With 23 years of industry experience, Varma has donned many hats such as a film director, film marketer & distributor, and content creator.

Carat India Ropes In Avilash Chakraborty As Associate Vice President, Strategy

Carat has appointed Avilash Chakraborty as Associate Vice President (AVP), Strategy. In his new role, Avilash will report to Anita Kotwani, CEO, Carat India and will lead the communication strategy for the agency, nationally.

Avilash will also help drive the ‘Designing for People’ (DFP) framework inspired by Design Thinking from the house of Carat and work closely with the office leads on the agency’s existing and new business development initiatives.

Armed with more than 13 years of experience, Avilash has worked with some of India’s leading advertising and media companies including JWT, Y&R and Cheil. He has led various strategy functions in Mindshare - North & East. Avilash has worked across areas in Innovation & Content Strategy, Integrated Media Strategy, Communications Strategy and Strategic Partnerships. He has also been part of The Walt Disney Company where he established and led multi-platform Strategic Partnerships for the iconic National Geographic brand in India. 

Throughout his career, Avilash has led communication and media mandates for several iconic brands namely - Pepsico (Portfolio), GSK, Yum Restaurants, Volvo, Motorola, ITC, Tata Steel, Emami, Honda, Apollo Tyres, Make In India, Lufthansa and Swatch Group, to name a few. 

Welcoming Avilash to the team, Anita Kotwani said, “Avilash brings with him a wealth of experience across creative, media and content. As we drive growth for Carat India, we needed to bring in talent that can truly transform the agency offering, and drive integrated communication planning. Avilash, with his strong strategic bent of mind and diverse experience, will work with the newly formed central strategy function at Carat and lead communication planning for the agency. I am truly excited to have him as part of the Carat family.“ 

Commenting on his new role, Avilash Chakraborty added, “Touted to be the world’s first media agency, Carat is a powerhouse when it comes to some of the best-in-class strategic frameworks, brand planning products, and proprietary audience insight tools that exist in the market today. Moreover, the tight-knit integrated ecosystem of dentsu India across Media, Digital, Performance, OOH, Marketing Effectiveness and Creative agencies, make it perfectly poised to cater to the ever dynamic and agile marketing needs of clients. I am looking forward to being a part of Carat’s growth story under Anita’s leadership in India and partnering with clients in placing their brands at the helm of culture, consumer, and context.”

Disney+ Hotstar SVP & Head-Advertising Gulshan Verma Quits

Disney+ Hotstar SVP & Head-Advertising Gulshan Verma has called it quits. He was responsible for Hotstar Ads Business covering Sales, Sales Strategy, Operations, AdTech/Data Partnerships, Branded Content Studios (Hotstar Brand Lab), Measurement/ROI and Customer Marketing.

Email sent to Star India seeking confirmation about Verma's departure remained unanswered till the time of filing this report.

Verma had joined the Star India-owned OTT platform as SVP & Head, Client & Agency in July 2018. In this role, he was responsible for large client and agency revenue besides B2B Marketing. He also credited with setting up Hotstar Brand Labs.

Prior to Disney+ Hotstar, Verma was with Times Internet as Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) where he was responsible for all revenue streams across Content/Media, Transaction and Classifieds businesses.

Before Times Internet, he was with Outbrain as the head of India and South East Asia operations. He also had stints at Komli Media, Yahoo!, EY, McKinsey and Associated Press. He is an alumnus of London School of Economics, Indian School of Business and Kellogg School of Management.