Leadership secrets & wisdom from Viacom18

Mahesh Shetty speaks about Sudhanshu Vats, Raj Nayak and Rahul Joshi

MUMBAI: A few months ago,  during the thick of the lockdown due to the pandemic, Viacom18 CEO Sudhanshu Vats announced that he was moving on from the organisation he led for around eight years. Earlier, in 2019, his deputy COO Raj Nayak too departed from a company he was associated with for seven years. Both  the leaders have left a long-lasting impact on Viacom18. And especially the senior team which is currently being led by the new CEO Rahul Joshi, who also heads the news operations under TV18.

In a fireside chat with founder, CEO & editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari last week, Viacom18 network head of ad sales Mahesh Shetty recalled the days when he had an opportunity to work with both  Raj Nayak and Sudhanshu Vats and his bond with his current CEO Rahul Joshi. And he shared the leadership and management styles of the two senior execs. 

Watch the virtual fireside chat with Mahesh Shetty

“I have huge respect for Raj Nayak. He is a maverick sales guy, and an amazing person. It was big shoes to fill in. I have done deals with him in the past when I worked at Radio Mirchi for Mirchi Music Award that used to come on Colors. He is someone who enjoys huge respect in media and entertainment industry,” Shetty shared during his conversation...

Shetty was hired by Vats to look after ad sales and revenue for the whole network – both regional and Hindi channels. “Raj was COO and he looked after direct sales for Colors,” said Shetty. “He built and left behind a fabulous sales team. There is not much of a change that has happened in it. It is not like that the new leaders have come in and they have changed the entire team, most of the team leaders are the same.”

He further highlighted that Raj had this attitude to think scale, to think big in sales efforts. “It is a great legacy that Nayak has left behind. The team is aware of the fact that they are selling big impact properties. So, I don’t have to go out and tell the teams how to sell.”

Read more news on Raj Nayak

Recently, long-timer Simran Hoon stepped down from her role as Viacom18 EVP and ad sales head after nearly 13 years with the organisation.

 “I don't have control over things which are above me,” said Shetty referring to Vats’ exit a few months ago. “But it’s to his credit that he handled my hiring the way he did. And how he kept the morale at the company high, during the tough times. The fact is that if you look at the past 18 months there are not too many exits. All the key people are there in the company.  it is a journey that all of us as a team have gone through. We all have tough times,” he shared.

He has been focused on building and strengthening the sales team, getting their trust, and bringing in processes and data mining and management into the sales efforts. Said he: “I think I have a job and a challenge at hand. My boss (Rahul Joshi) is a person who helps me in this journey, Rahul is also great person, he has a different kind of experience than what Sudhanshu Vats had. The last six months with him have s been good.”

He further added, “Both Sudhanshu Vats and Rahul Joshi are managers who let you build and drive your own strategies. Because then the onus is on you to deliver and it’s not like you can put your monkey on your boss’ back.”

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