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Updated: Durga Raghunath quits Indian Express Digital, joins Zomato again

Update on 7:40 pm: Durga Raghunath is back at Zomato as senior vice-president for growth, starting December 21, 2018, the company said in a statement. Raghunath was earlier at Zomato in 2015 for just under six months.

She will be responsible for managing Zomato’s newly announced events vertical ‘Zomato Live’ and SneakPeek – Zomato’s recent entry into video content. Raghunath will also be leading ad innovations for Zomato and help in monetisation of of the platform.

In the earlier stint with the company, she had joined in May 2015 at the same role — senior VP of growth — but left for Juggernaut Books within six months in September 2015. At the time, she was responsible for customer acquisition and retention across the globe.

Earlier at 3:47 pmDurga Raghunath has quit as the CEO of the Indian Express Digital Media Services, MediaNama has learned from multiple sources. Raghunath will leave the company on Thursday, 20th December.

Anant Goenka, the Executive Director of the Indian Express, told MediaNama that he did not have a statement to make when we spoke with him. Raghunath has also sent an email to Indian Express employees stating that she has resigned. Multiple calls to her went unanswered, we have also reached out to her on email and are yet to hear back.

Raghunath joined the Express in November 2017 and was responsible for managing the business and editorial operations of all digital brands of the Express Group. She took over the role that Sandeep Amar had left after he resigned in July 2017. Raghunath reported to George Varghese, CEO, The Indian Express Group.

During her tenure at the Indian Express, Raghunath

  • Redesigned the newspaper, website and app interface (“brand identity”) last month
  • Launched podcasts, starting with eight shows across news and in-depth thematic programming in June
  • Launched ieBangla, a Bengali language version of it news website, in April this year. The company had launched ieMalayalam and ieTamil in 2017. The Financial Express had also launched a Hindi version of its website at the start of 2018. Apart from this the IE group has the Hindi website JanSatta and Marathi website Loksatta.

Raghunath was also tasked with figuring out what to do with a lot of the brands that Amar launched during his tenure, including language verticals in Malayalam, and Tamil; a youth vertical called inuth.com, a health vertical Lifealth.com, ExpressFoodie as a website. The Indian Express also planned to launch paid ad-free plans for readers, although access to content will not be restricted behind a paywall.

Raghunath is the co-founder of Juggernaut Books, along with Chiki Sarkar, and left that company as CEO when she resigned early in 2017. Prior to that, she had a brief stint – around six months – at Zomato, as SVP of Growth. Prior to that she had been CEO of Network18 Digital, and had been instrumental in setting up FirstPost. She’s also a Facebook #SheLeadsTech mentor.

Note that the Indian Express is a part of the Digital News Publishers Association, an association formed with 9 other large media organisations including NDTV, HT and TOI in September this year. “The organization is committed to providing the most credible news in all languages to the Indian audience, to self-regulation and to promoting the business and editorial interests of all members,” NDTV said in a statement.

Also read: On the formation of the Digital News Publishers Association: What was the need?

Our Indian Express coverage here.

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