Who is Sandhya Devanathan, Meta’s new India head?

Sandhya Devanathan joined Meta in 2016. PTI

Following mass layoffs at Meta, the social media giant has appointed Sandhya Devanathan as Vice President of Meta India.

Devanathan’s appointment was welcomed by Meta’s Chief Business Officer Marne Levine. In a statement, he said, “I’m pleased to welcome Sandhya as our new leader for India. Sandhya has a proven track record of scaling businesses, building exceptional and inclusive teams, driving product innovation and building strong partnerships. We are thrilled to have her lead Meta’s continued growth in India.”

Sandhya Devanthan will succeed Ajit Mohan who resigned from the position on 3 November. She will start her new role on 1 January 2023.

Let’s take a closer look at who Sandhya Devanathan is.

Who is Sandhya Devanthan?

In her professional life, Sandhya has had a lot of experience. She pursued a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) degree in Chemical Engineering from Andhra University in 1994, followed by a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Delhi in 1998. Apart from this, in 2014 she also went to the University of Oxford for a course on leadership.

She kickstarted her professional life with a job at Citigroup before she joined Standard Chartered in 2009.

Before becoming a part of the Meta family in 2016 (then known as Facebook), Sandhya served as a board member at Pepper Financial Services Group, Singapore’s National Library Board and Singapore Management University, among other organisations.

Devanthan’s journey in Meta began in January 2016 when she assumed the position of Group Director, South East Asia handling E-commerce, Travel and FinServ in Singapore. By August 2016, she became the company’s Managing Director for Singapore and Business Head for Vietnam.

The company statement also added that in 2020, Sandhya was appointed as the head of the company’s gaming vertical for the Asia-Pacific region.

The statement said, “She also brings a passion for developing women leaders in business and is the Executive Sponsor for Women@APAC at Meta as well as the global lead for Play Forward, a global Meta initiative to improve diversity representation in the gaming industry.”

What does her new role look like?

Any new role comes with a tonne of responsibilities. The same holds true for Devanathan.

Her new role at Meta will entail spearheading the company’s India charter and strengthening Meta’s relationship with Indian brands, creators, advertisers and partners to ensure the company’s revenue is streamlined across India.

Meta said, “Devanathan will focus on bringing the organization’s business and revenue priorities together to serve its partners and clients while continuing to support the long-term growth of Meta’s business and commitment to India.”

Also read: Twitter, Meta, Amazon and more… Why are tech titans laying off employees?

Along with this, Sandhya will also overlook the company’s newly launched products on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp like Reels, Business Messaging, JioMart on WhatsApp – which is Meta’s first end-to-end shopping destination in India, according to Marne Levine.

He further said, “Sandhya has a proven track record of scaling businesses, building exceptional and inclusive teams, driving product innovation and building strong partnerships. We are thrilled to have her lead Meta’s continued growth in India.”

With Devanathan on board, the company is planning to continue its support for the long-term expansion of Meta’s business and operations in India.

The challenges ahead

Sandhya Devanathan’s new role comes at a time when Facebook is facing regulatory challenges in India after the Indian government tightened laws concerning giant tech companies.

The company has also drawn a lot of flak in recent years for doing little to curb the spread of fake news and hate speech in India.

The resignations of WhatsApp’s India head Abhijit Bose and Meta’s public policy director in India Rajiv Aggarwal, also came as a big blow to the company. Apart from this, Meta’s ex-India head Ajit Mohan left the company for a role in Snap, which is considered one of the company’s biggest competitors.

More recently, the company laid off as many as 11,000 employees, at least 13 per cent of its total workforce. According to a report by Reuters, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s expensive project of metaverse drove the company’s overall costs by a fifth in the third quarter.

The metaverse project plunged Meta’s stocks by 20 per cent and wiped off nearly $67 billion of its market value for the company, which also posted its fourth straight decline in quarterly profit.

With inputs from agencies

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