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Sunita Rajan leaves BBC Worldwide after 16 years to join CNN as head of APAC sales

Rajan

Rajan

CNN has hired BBC Worldwide’s long-serving head of sales Sunita Rajan to lead its commercial operations in Asia.

Rajan brings to an end 16 years with the British broadcaster in Asia, where she was latterly EVP of advertising for Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

She joins the BBC’s biggest rival with a brief to lead sales for CNN in its Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Delhi and Mumbai offices, and joins a team that oversees international commercial strategy.

She replaces William Hsu, who has left CNN after more than 12 years with the company. He is returning to the US, CNN told Mumbrella.

The BBC said that they had no immediate plans to replace Rajan. The company expanded the leadership team in September last year when it brought in John Williams, VP for ASEAN and India based in Singapore, and Katy Xu, who covers Greater China and North Asia, based in Singapore.

The announcement from CNN:

Sunita Rajan is joining CNN International Commercial’s executive team under Chief Commercial Officer Rani R Raad with a remit to continue building CNN’s business growth trajectory in the Asia Pacific region.

Joining from BBC Worldwide from March 2015, Rajan will oversee an extensive client base across the breadth of the Asia Pacific region and will lead teams based across 5 offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Delhi and Mumbai and a network of representatives across Asia, overseeing the strategy to drive advertising revenue for CNN’s global portfolio of multi-platform products among Asia Pacific based advertisers. She will also be part of Raad’s management team which guides the brand’s international commercial strategy.

With an emphasis on bespoke integrated advertiser solutions across the full range of CNN’s linear and non-linear properties, her focus will be on overseeing strategic relationships and brand partnerships across the Asia Pacific region. Her appointment comes at a time of particular momentum for the CNN brand: the leading international news brand continues to mark clear distance between its nearest competitor in all key independent viewing surveys both in Asia and worldwide and marks the second consecutive year as Asian TV Awards’ Cable & Satellite Channel of the Year and the Royal Television Society’s News Channel of the Year.

“Sunita’s wealth of experience coupled with her dynamic leadership style will be a huge asset to CNN as we look to continue our growth path in the Asia Pacific region,” said Raad. “Her expertise fits perfectly with CNN’s multi-platform offering and she is ideally equipped to take CNN’s long-standing commercial success in the region to the next level.  She will undoubtedly prove a valued colleague to the entire Asia business across the full spectrum of our commercial activity in the region where CNN continues to enjoy a strong leadership position.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity to build further growth for the global news leader across its extensive portfolio of tv and digital products in a region as exciting and dynamic as Asia Pacific,” said Rajan. “I’m looking forward to taking up this new role working with such a highly talented team.”

Rajan will be supported in her new role by Sonali Chatterjee, Stacey Rabsatt, Atsushi Saito and Sally Young, directors respectively for South Asia, South East Asia, Japan and North Asia (including New Zealand & Australia.)

Rajan’s media career has spanned 25 years and has included roles at Star Television, News Television (India) and BBC Worldwide, where she was most recently Executive Vice President Advertising Sales, Asia Pacific.

Rajan joins CNN as the news provider continues to invest in all its platforms, including a recently re-launched CNN.com site and a suite of additional business programming for its international audiences.  Its ongoing leadership position in digital, social, and mobile news and information sits alongside the unrivalled TV offering which currently reaches over 385 million households around the world.

“In welcoming her to my international executive team, I know Sunita will help shape our future success beyond her role as a senior ambassador for the business in Asia Pacific,” added Raad. “Her drive and expertise will help to further establish CNNI Commercial as the go-to home of innovative commercial propositions for those wanting to engage with our unique global audience across multiple platforms.”

Rajan is another senior level appointment to Raad’s executive management team since CNNI Commercial was formed two years ago. In February 2013, parent company Turner International made the decision to align all of CNN’s international commercial activity – spanning advertising sales, content sales, affiliate relations, out of home distribution, business development, marketing and research – into a single operation under Raad’s leadership.

CNNI Commercial currently oversees a global portfolio of world-class advertisers after a significant period of client retention and growth. It manages a dynamic content sales, affiliates and hotels business and has recently announced innovative new marketing initiatives to increase CNN’s reach to new audiences, including most recently the opening of the inaugural CNN Traveller Café in Abu Dhabi.

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