Krishan Bhatia to Exit NBCU Ad Sales

Krishan Bhatia, a key architect of NBCUniversal’s recent forays into new kinds of advertising revenue, is leaving the company, and has informed his direct reports of his decision to exit at the end of 2023.

Bhatia helped develop new revenue systems and infrastructure at NBCUniversal’s ad-sales unit, which for a time was very vocal about its efforts to strike e-commerce and data partnerships with advertisers. Those were key initiatives under Linda Yaccarino, the company’s former ad-sales chief. Since her abrupt exit in May to take the reins as CEO of X, the social-media venue formerly known as Twitter, NBCU has been less vocal about its work in these areas but is said to remain strongly interested in developing them.

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“Krishan has been an integral leader for NBCUniversal’s Advertising and Partnerships division, making huge contributions to the growth of our business and helping shepherd our industry forward during critical times of change,” said Mark Marshall, chairman, global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, in a statement. “In addition, he has built an outstanding team of leaders who will continue to bring us into the future. We are so grateful for Krishan’s dedication, and wish him all the best.”

Advertising Age previously reported Bhatia’s departure.

People familiar with the executive believe he will seek out a job that makes the most of his digital-business savvy as well as harness his knowledge of multiple languages. NBCUniversal has lost other senior executives from its advertising operations. Joe Benarroch, a corporate communications executive, followed Yaccarino to Twitter, and Carrie Stimmel, a veteran ad-sales executive, recently followed suit. Bennaroch praised Bhatia’s business acumen in a posting on X, but declined to comment on whether Bhatia might join the his former colleagues.

Bhatia had recently been deeply involved with a new committee backed by many of the biggest U.S. media companies that aims to gain industry certification of new types of audience-measuring technology. This committee, backed by Fox, NBCU, Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount Global and TelevisaUnivsion. recently gave early nods to technology from Comscore, VideoAmp and iSpot, three start-ups that have worked in recent years to challenge Nielsen’s status as the media industry’s primary means of audience tabulation.

There has been hope the media companies can expand the project’s backing. “There is obviously an open invitation to others to join, and hopefully we will get the entire industry rallied around this,” Bhatia told Variety in January.

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