Coffee & Conversations with Rahul Kishore: Week #4: Shantanu Bhanja

20 Apr,2015

It’s is very difficult to pin Shantanu Bhanja, Chief Digital Officer of HT Media, down to anything. He operates out of Gurgaon and Delhi and is super-busy. But he’s forever courteous, agreed to meet at short notice, and once you are with him, he is at ease and gives you all his attention. I think the time he has  spent in London and Lisbon helped!

 

I started by asking him:

 

Are you lucky?

Yes, Life has been good. Fun things have happened along the way. He worked with Reckitt in London and Lisbon. His bosses have been nice to him although he has taken care to choose his bosses carefully!

 

The beliefs that define him?

He read in Reader’s Digest that it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. He follows it. I have not known of anyone in the industry say negative things about him. He is very courteous, soft-spoken and genuinely makes you feel nice, even if it’s with an impish grin. Whatever you do, do it with a 110% of what you can bring to the table. No half-measures for him.  Ethics: Life needs it. The world is so open. Everything is so transparent. Can’t afford to be non-ethical. It’s not like Shantanu to not be genuine.

 

How do you destress?

Shantanu takes three holidays a year. Two of these are international. One is in the UK with a large part of his family being there. If he is really stressed whilst at home, he takes refuge with TV and likes to surf the internet. Reading is a long time love as is theatre. Work is worship for him, so he never lays off it.

 

If a movie were to be made about his life who would play him?

He said ME. That is, Shantanu himself! Acting is a hobby and he has essayed the roles of Professor Higgins and Shylock. When pushed, he said Farhan Akhtar or Aamir Khan. They are smart and intelligent and that would be required to play him, he says.

 

If Bill Gates were to walk in and say here is a 100 million, give me one big idea and it’s yours?

He has the big idea in his new digital job, though he will not share it for now. It would come in very handy, he says for his new business venture. The digital business can create large business ides, he says.

 

Dream job

Doing what I am doing today, else I would have moved on. I work for long stints with companies. He completes eight years this year at HT

 

Favourite animal and why?

Tiger, because it’s majestic, powerful and a leader.

 

One word that describes him?

Passionate

 

And, lastly, a CEO he admires?

Steve Jobs is an almost instant reply. He loves everything about him. His ideas, the fact that he was a visionary, passionate, driven, obsessed and a perfectionist.

 

Coffee & Conversations with Rahul Kishore will henceforth appear on Mondays

 

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