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Sunita Rajan joins CNN Intl as ad sales head Asia Pacific

MUMBAI: Long-time BBC hand Sunita Rajan is joining its arch-rival CNN International Commercial’s executive team under chief commercial officer Rani R Raad.

Rajan’s remit at CNN will be to continue building its business in the Asia Pacific region.

Joining CNN in March 2015, Rajan will oversee an extensive client base across the breadth of the Asia Pacific region and will lead teams based across five offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Delhi and Mumbai, as well as a network of representatives across Asia. She will oversee 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.

Raad said, “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. 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.”

Rajan said, “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. 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 and 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 for 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. 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,” added Raad.

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.