Marketing wizkid Karan Bajaj to head Discovery India

MUMBAI: The hunt to find a replacement for Discovery India head Rahul Johri has come to a conclusion. And the professional who is going to step into Johri's shoes is Karan Bajaj, a wunderkinder marketer from the US.

Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific has appointed Bajaj as senior vice president and general manager of South Asia with effect from 17 October 2016. He will be based in Mumbai and will report to Discovery APAC president and managing director Arthur Bastings.

Bajaj will focus on re-formulating Discovery’s product suite in line with accelerating demand for regional and digital offerings. He will also be responsible for executing the company’s stated ambition to step outside of its current category leadership to build broader flagship brands and actively seek out inorganic growth opportunities.

Commenting on the appointment, Bastings said, “India has quickly become one of Discovery’s top-priority global markets. These are exciting times as we strategically step up our investments to take advantage of very dynamic growth in both TV and digital. Karan brings that rare combination of creative flair, a strong instinct for the Indian millennial zeitgeist and a cutting-edge leadership style. His proven track record of scaling businesses and brands speaks for itself.”

A BE topper from the Birla Institute of Technology and an IIM Bangalore marketing MBA, he has reportedly been selected after a global head hunt.

Long standing country head Rahul Johri departed earlier this year to take on a position with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as its CEO. Discovery India's earlier heads include respected executives Deepak Shourie and Kiran Karnik.

Since Johri's departure, Bastings has been selectively seeking out candidates who will help him fulfill his ambitions to make the network stronger digitally across Asia. The company announced the appointment of Jay Trinidad as the head for its north east Asian business earlier this week. Trinidad has been mandated to grow Discovery’s digital business.

Now with the hire of Bajaj as Discovery India country head, Bastings will have plugged another management gap. The former has worked with companies such as Procter & Gamble in the US, The Boston Consulting Group, Kraft Foods, Mondelez International and finally at Aden & Anais Inc.

A best-selling novelist and striving yogi, Bajaj balances his professional career with personal creativity and spirituality. His novels Keep off the Grass and Johnny Gone Down launched his literary career. In June this year, he had his first international novel release - The Yoga of Max's Discontent.

(Updated at 19:30 hours following the issuance of the the press release by Discovery Communications)

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