Sandeep Bhushan, director consumer and media for South Asia, named interim managing director
Karan Choudhury | New Delhi Last Updated at October 10, 2017 18:49 IST
After over a year of handling the India operations of Facebook, Umang Bedi has stepped down as the managing director of the social networking giant, the firm said here on Tuesday.
Bedi, who joined Facebook from Adobe India in July last year, is likely to start his own technology based venture soon, said sources. Sandeep Bhushan, who is director consumer and media for South Asia has been named the interim managing director, said Facebook.
“We confirm that Umang Bedi will be leaving his role at Facebook at the end of this year. He’s built a really strong team and business during his time with us, and we wish him all the best,” Facebook said in a statement here. Bedi was not immediately available for comments.
According sources close to the company, Bedi was given the task of salvaging the brand image of the country and come up with solutions to generate new streams revenue as well as re-launch permutations and combinations of Free Basics or Internet.org in India.
Bedi was instrumental in launching another product under its Internet.org programme, ‘Express Wi-Fi’. It got into a tie-up with Bharti Airtel to launch as many as 20,000 hotspots, the term for a physical location where people may get internet access, typically using Wi-Fi, via a wireless local area network, using a router connected to an internet service provider (ISP).
Unlike Free Basics that provided access to selected websites for free, Express Wi-Fi works on a ‘paid’ model. The access is not restricted to any particular website. Users can log on to Wi-Fi hotspots and buy daily, weekly or monthly data packs. India is the second largest user base for Facebook globally, after the US.
His exit comes at a critical juncture when Facebook is facing a global backlash of it being used as a platform to disseminate fake news. In the US, it has been accused of selling ads to Russians to influence the 2016 US elections that elected Donald Trump as President.
Bedi also put a chunk of its resources in the digital advertisement space, in hopes of higher revenues. “The opportunity on social is focused on driving three types of outcomes for our original equipment manufacturers (OEM) advertisers in that space. We at Facebook can provide five per cent incremental reach over television at one-seventh the cost, which is an efficient way of giving additional reach to the customers. It is a targeted personalised reach,” Bedi had told Business Standard in an earlier interview.
He was appointed as the managing director in mid 2016, taking over the India business from Kirthiga Reddy who moved to the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, US. Prior to joining Facebook, Bedi served as the Managing Director of the South Asia region at Adobe.
First Published: Tue, October 10 2017. 18:08 IST