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Exclusive: Satyan Gajwani To Take Over As Indiatimes CEO From Rishi Khiani

Updated: Read a copy of an internal memo sent to Indiatimes employees regarding the change, below.

Update: Via an SMS Rishi Khiani informs us that “I am moving on to focus on my startup, and had put in my papers some time ago.” He declined to comment on exactly what his startup is going to be about, saying only that he’ll let us know when he can talk about it.

Earlier today (Satyan Gajwani, until now the Director (New Media) at the Times of India group, is going to take over as the CEO of Indiatimes* (Times Internet Ltd) from Rishi Khiani, Gajwani has confirmed to MediaNama. Speculation has been rife about Khiani moving on from the company, and we had about this heard from at least three different sources over the weekend. Messages and calls to Khiani over the weekend trying to confirm his move were unanswered, and the buzz, which began almost six months ago, had become stronger. Khiani will remain with the company for a few months, and the buzz is that he is planning to start up, though this is unconfirmed.

Gajwani has been significantly involved with strategy and products at Indiatimes ever since Khiani joined the company, and at a recent Ad:Tech event, he outlined in significant detail, the Times of India groups new approach to the Internet. Watch that video here.

Incidentally, it’s almost exactly three years to the day when we had first reported that Khiani was joining Indiatimes, replacing Dinesh Wadhawan. Prior to joining Indiatimes, Khiani was the COO at Web18, which he had joined after he had sold his company UrbanEye to the Network18 group.

During Khiani’s three year tenure as CEO, Indiatimes won the Internet and mobile rights for the Indian Premier League, launched Gaana.com, TimesDeal.com, a blogs network including Luxpresso, GuyLife and HealthMeUp, revamped Indiatimes.com, TimesofIndia.com and EconomicTimes.com, among others. The company is also launching a online video streaming service called BoxTV.

Update: an internal memo from Indiatimes Chairman Vineet Jain sent to Indiatimes employees reads as follows:

Times Internet Limited

Office Advice

Rishi Khiani, Chief Executive Officer, has decided to pursue opportunities outside of the company and hence wishes to step down from his current role and leave the organization.

Under Rishi’s leadership, TIL has grown its userbase by 150% to 28M visitors, has seen significant growth in revenues and launched strategic properties such as Gaana.com and the new Indiatimes.com. We thank Rishi for his contributions to the growth and success of TIL and wish him all success in his entrepreneurial endeavors.

I am pleased to name Satyan Gajwani as the new Chief Executive Officer of TIL with immediate effect. Satyan would report to me.

Rishi has kindly consented to stay on till August 17th 2012 to transition in the new CEO.

Please join me in thanking Rishi and in wishing Satyan all success in his new role.

Vineet Jain
June 18th 2012
New Delhi

Corrigendum: We’d incorrectly mentioned that Gajwani was Director (Business Development) at the Times of India group. He was Director (New Media). Our apologies for the error.

* Disclosure: Indiatimes is an advertiser with MediaNama

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