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LinkedIn hires former Saavn managing director as India head

LinkedIn hires former Saavn managing director as India head
Mahesh Narayanan

Microsoft Corp-owned professional networking company LinkedIn has appointed Mahesh Narayanan, former managing director at music streaming company Saavn and Google's country head for mobile in India, to lead its operations in the country.

Narayanan will join as country manager for India on 7 January 2019, LinkedIn said in a statement. He will report to Olivier Legrand, LinkedIn’s managing director for Asia Pacific. He will also join the company’s Asia Pacific senior management team, LinkedIn said. 

Narayanan said that India is an important market for LinkedIn and is rapidly digitizing. The company claims to have about 590 million global users and 53 million India users.

The appointment comes after Akshay Kothari, who was the erstwhile country head and vice president of international products, quit LinkedIn in September after a five-year stint. Kothari had joined LinkedIn in 2013 and was made India head in 2016.

In March this year, Saavn decided to merge with billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd's music streaming service JioMusic.

Narayanan is a commerce and managment graduate. He started his career as a management trainee at Rediff.com in 1999. After that, he had short stints as a business development manager at two online companies. Next, he had a short stint with Times Network as a digital marketing manager. 

In October 2005, Narayanan joined Google as a senior industry manager. In 2009, he was made the head of mobile advertising division of Google called Admob. In 2010, he was made the country head for Google's mobile division. Narayanan left Google in 2013 to join digital marketing firm Sociomantic Labs as its India managing director. 

In December 2014, Narayanan left Sociaomatic Labs and served as adviser to Keypoint Technologies before joining Saavn in 2015 as its India managing director. During that time, he also served as an adviser to digital marketing firm Tonic Worldwide and became a partner at a consultancy firm named Spike Partners.

India is LinkedIn's largest and fastest-growing market outside the US. The company claims its member base in India has grown from 3.4 million members in November 2009 to 53 million in July 2018. It says the user growth can be attributed to products and features such as LinkedIn Lite, Resume Builder and the Workforce Report.

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