Veteran media executive, Jyoti Deshpande has been appointed CEO of Viacom 18, the joint venture between TV18 and U.S. conglomerate Viacom. Billionaire Mukesh Ambani acquired a controlling stake in Viacom18 in 2018.
The move cements Deshpande’s position as one of the highest-ranking women executives in the Indian entertainment industry.
Deshpande was previously president of the chairman’s office for media and entertainment, at Ambani’s Reliance Industries. She already serves on the boards of Network18 and investee companies Balaji Telefilms and Saavn Media.
Viacom18 said: “In her new assignment, Jyoti will help bring synergies across all of Reliance’s media interests and investments and further equip the company to drive significant growth opportunities as the industry embraces digital transformation.”
She joined Reliance Industries in 2018 as President – Media Platform & Content, after having been CEO and MD of Eros International from 2009, including the time when it launched its streaming service Eros Now. Reliance Industries bought a 5% stake in Eros as part of a strategy to feed its Jio broadband platform which has shaken up the Indian telecoms and internet scenes.
“As a business leader in Reliance, Jyoti has in the last three years leveraged her industry relationships to establish Jio Studios as a key player in the media value chain,” the company said.
“Viacom18 is poised to grow as a truly integrated media company across broadcast, OTT and content studio business spanning general entertainment, movies and sports across languages. Given Jyoti’s rich experience in the media sector around content, distribution and monetization across traditional and emerging platforms, we believe she is best placed to lead the company and its operations,” said Adil Zainulbhai, chairman of Network18 in a prepared statement.
Deshpande was previously listed by both Fortune and Forbes on their list of leading Indian executives. In 2018, she ranked #21 on Fortune’s list of most powerful women in India.