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Exclusive: Rishi Khiani To Join As CEO Of Indiatimes; From In To Indiatimes

This has been doing the rounds for a long time, and now we have it confirmed from very reliable sources: Rishi Khiani, the COO of Web18 who recently put in his papers, will be joining Times Internet Ltd (Indiatimes) as the CEO. The 8th floor at the Indiatimes building in Gurgaon will have a new occupant: Khiani will take over the helm of affairs at the company from COO Sunil Rajshekhar, who is believed to have stepped down recently.

Update: We finally got through to Khiani – he was on a flight and hence unreachable for comment. He has declined to comment on the development.

From In To Indiatimes

Indiatimes, in a sense, is the Yahoo of India: once considered a university of sorts for the Internet industry in the country, responsible for grooming many executives who now are placed at senior positions. Over the last few years, it has grown into a rather large organization that is slow to innovate and deploy.

This is despite the significant advantage it has had in terms of the massive amounts of content available with it, the brand equity that publications like Times of India and Economic Times bring with it. Khiani will have the opportunity for a broader content play at Indiatimes, than he perhaps did as COO (Content Verticals) at Web18, but there will be significant organizational challenges to overcome.

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Khiani had been considering multiple options – starting up, offers from Venture Funds, as well as those from Indian Internet firms (among them, Indiatimes). He is likely to move to the NCR region – whether Gurgaon or Noida, we haven’t been able to confirm. Indiatimes currently operates in Gurgaon, but a move to Noida has been on the cards, according to company sources.

This move also puts Sunil Rajshekar’s apparent resignation into perspective: Rajshekhar is believed to have been a strong, effective and frankly, an “active”, leader at Indiatimes, and it would have been hara-kiri for two power centres to have existed at company.

Khiani had joined the Network18 group when his design company UrbanEye Media was acquired by them three years ago. A little over year ago, as a part of a restructuring, he was appointed COO for the companys Content verticals.

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