Ajit Mohan to move from Hotstar to the Facebook hotseat

25 Sep,2018

By A Correspondent

 

The wait is over. Around a year after Umang Bedi, its last India head moved out, on Monday, Facebook Inc announced that it has appointed Hotstar CEO Ajit Mohan as Managing Director and Vice-President, Facebook India. He will join from early next year. Mohan is said to have pipped several biggies in the media to the post… including someone from his own organisation – Star India.

Mohan’s role is bigger than that of Bedi. In this newly created role of Managing Director for India, a VP-level role, one of his most important responsibilities will be aligning teams and driving Facebook’s overall strategy in India. This is a new structure for Facebook India of having a senior leader reporting into Menlo Park and not Asia Pacific.

Mohan will be responsible for Facebook’s India strategy and for driving the company’s continued investment in India. He will lead a senior leadership team in India that will strengthen Facebook’s relationships with people, businesses, and government and intensify the company’s efforts to help people in India connect with the people and things they care about most.

 

“India is one of the largest and most strategically important countries for Facebook. As we think about what it will take to achieve our mission of bringing people together and building community, we know that investment in India is critical. Ajit’s depth of experience will help us to continue to have a positive impact in India across communities, organisations, businesses and with policy makers,” said David Fischer, Vice-President of Business and Marketing Partnerships, Facebook Inc.

“I am delighted to take on the mantle of shaping Facebook’s charter in India. It is a unique opportunity to shape the agenda of a company that has brought the world closer together in one of the most exciting markets in the world. I look forward to championing India in Facebook and working with stakeholders across the spectrum to help build deep and meaningful communities across the country,” said Mohan.

 

The next year is going to be significant for Facebook and India being (as of now) an election year. Social media and microblogging platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are expected to play a key role, and along with Whatsapp, could change the course of the way the elections will be fought. Given this Mohan could well have a tightrope walk as the tendency is always to blame the media/ digital vehicle first and not the content creators.

 

Facebook has had a good run with the advertising fraternity, and that needs to be cemented further to grow the reliance on digital over traditional media.

 

Meanwhile, we’ll wait to hear who takes over from Mohan at Hotstar. Mohan is credited (and rightly so) to have scaled up Hotstar operations and equity, though most of it is on the back of sports (read IPL and India cricket). Surely it will need a hotter star to fill his shoes.

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