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Jyoti Deshpande: The Crisis Manager

Jyoti Deshpande: The Crisis Manager

Building India’s largest disrup- tive and platform-agnostic, truly integrated media company

Jyoti Deshpande, 50, Viacom18 Jyoti Deshpande, 50, Viacom18

For all that Jyoti Deshpande has seen over three decades, nothing excites her more than crisis management. “It brings out the best in me,” she says. Her businesses are doing fairly well and the only pain point is the pandemic. “We are in a touch-and-feel business and being on the sets, for instance, was the way to do it. Doing things remotely is a challenge and it is so critical to take people with you during this period.” Two chance meetings changed the contours of Deshpande’s career. The first was with Kishore Lulla, Eros International’s Chairman, in the late 1990s. The second, with Manoj Modi, which led her to Reliance, first as President of the Chairman’s Office, then as head of Jio Studios and, currently, CEO, Viacom18, a 51:49 joint venture between Network18 and ViacomCBS. Deshpande credits Mukesh Ambani and Modi for some basic learnings. “Everything has to be conveyed in three slides instead of 30.” Right.