By Elton Gomes
Online restaurant guide and food ordering company Zomato, on Monday, announced that it has appointed Durga Raghunath as its Senior Vice President – Growth. Raghunath will assume office from December 21, 2018. She is currently employed as the CEO of digital media services at the Indian Express.
In her new role, Raghunath will be responsible for managing new businesses such as Zomato’s upcoming food events’ vertical, and SneakPeek, Zomato’s foray into video content, the company said in a statement.
Raghunath will also spearhead ad innovations for Zomato and further help in the monetisation of the country’s largest food app.
This will be Raghunath’s second stint with Zomato. During her previous stint in 2015, she led its customer acquisition and retention efforts. She also worked on the then emerging businesses such as online ordering, table reservation, and restaurant POS (point of sale).
“I am excited to have Durga back with us, to help Zomato accelerate its growth trajectory for years to come,” Zomato founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal said, as per a PTI report.
Who is Durga Raghunath?
A 40-year-old management graduate, Raghunath completed her MBA from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. She also has a publishing degree from Columbia University in New York City. She got her post-graduate diploma in media and communications from Sophia Polytechnic in Mumbai after having studied chemistry at Stella Maris College, Chennai.
Previously, she has worked as the founder and CEO of Firstpost. She has also been associated with Network 18, where she was the CEO of Network 18 Digital and oversaw Moneycontrol, IBNLive, News18, Firstpost, Burrp!, In.com, and other regional media products.
Raghunath began her career in book publishing in India, where she was assistant editor at Orient Longman Pvt. Ltd., as per her LinkedIn profile. She then worked at HarperCollins in New York. Raghunath was also the co-founder and CEO of Juggernaut Books, India’s first digital-first book-publishing platform. She has also been managing editor at Live Mint, and India editor for the Wall Street Journal.
“I have always been impressed by the way Zomato delivers true product value by getting the details right. Deepinder’s clear vision for the future is exciting as well as scary. I’m very thrilled to be coming back to Zomato, and help build one of the most meaningful food companies of our times,” said Raghunath, as per an Economic Times report.
Zomato’s previous rejigs
Citing knowledgeable sources, media reports in June 2018 mentioned that Zomato had been heading for a major rejig in its senior management over the next six months.
According to sources, investors, including Ant Financial, Sequoia Capital, and Temasek Holdings, wanted Zomato to focus on the food delivery side of the business, where Zomato’s competitors, Swiggy and Foodpanda, are much ahead.
Sources said that as many as five more exits were expected by the end of the year, of which three would be in the technology team, while the rest would be from the marketing team.
In the past few months, as many as 10 exits have already taken place in the mid-level and senior management of the company.
In June 2018, Zomato’s chief business officer Mukund Kulashekaran quit less than five months after taking on the role, three people told the Economic Times.
In another high-profile exit, 10 years after he co-founded Zomato, co-founder Pankaj Chaddah stepped down. “After 10 yrs, I am moving on from Zomato to try out something new. I’ll continue to play an active role till the end of this month,” Chaddah said in a tweet in March.
According to recent reports, Zomato is working on a new event vertical, Zomato Live, and the company announced the appointment of Chaitanya Mathur as the global head of this new vertical.
Zomato said in a statement that Mathur came with vast experience in the entertainment space in India and has been instrumental in bringing some of the most prolific international artists to India in the past.
Zomato’s expansion plans in India
Recent reports stated that Zomato has plans to launch in 30 new cities across India this week. The company plans to add more small cities, including Ambala, Meerut, Ujjain, Jamshedpur, Puri, and Haridwar.
This will bring Zomato’s current footprint to a total of 93 cities, with plans to increase it to over a 100 soon. The move will also result in the hiring of more than 5,000 delivery agents to its team, and broaden its network of restaurants by 75,000.
In its emailed statement, Zomato added that while its own delivery services would be available from 11 am to 11 pm, it will offer breakfast delivery and midnight meals as well.
“We will be the first to hit the 100 city mark and will continue to invest heavily to lead geographical penetration, in the food delivery market in India. We have seen market share grow in our main markets through the festive season and have plans for growth in December as well,” Mohit Gupta, CEO – Food Delivery, Zomato said, as per an NDTV report.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.