Social networking giant Facebook Inc. has finally announced a successor to Kirthiga Reddy, its former India managing director who stepped down almost four months ago. While Umang Bedi's appointment may come as a surprise to many, he is perhaps the best man to lead the social networking company in India. Bedi's first task will be to rebuild Facebook's image after the backlash it faced for its 'Free Basics' service that Internet activists alleged violated net neutrality, or the idea that all online traffic should be treated equally, and that the company eventually withdrew.
Bedi will play a key role in Facebook's India growth strategy. India is an important market for Facebook with 142 million monthly active users, including 133 million users who access it on their mobile. Bedi, who was previously the South Asia managing director at Adobe, has a track record of pushing growth in the various companies he has worked for in his 18-year-long career.
Here are a few interesting things you may want to know about Umang Bedi:
- When Bedi joined Adobe, piracy was its biggest enemy. Adobe switched to cloud subscription model under Bedi's leadership which reduced the cost of Adobe Photoshop software from around Rs 70,000 to Rs 500, after which the company saw an uptick in sales.
- When Bedi took over, India was just one of Adobe's research and development (R&D) centres. One-third of Adobe's R&D work is now done out of India.
- India is today the second largest market in Asia-Pacific in digital marketing for Adobe. Bedi was also responsible for establishing Adobe India as the company's top five territories for five quarters in a row.
- Under him, Adobe India has become the largest centre for patents filed with more than 300 filed till now. His first job was as senior software engineer in Satyam Computer Services. He went on to work for Wipro, Sun Microsystems, Symantec Corporation and Intuit Inc. before joining Adobe in March 2011.
- While at Symantec India, as business head of the banking, financial services and information technology verticals, Bedi helped the company achieve year-on-year triple-digit growth. "This (Symantec) would have to be one of the most exciting and rewarding stint of my sales career," he says on his LinkedIn profile.
- Bedi earned his bachelor of engineering in electronics degree from University of Pune in 1999. He has also completed a general management programme from Harvard Business School.
- Bedi considers Apple's Steve Jobs as his role model and inspiration.
- He is an avid golfer and has won several tournaments in India and abroad.
- Bedi also likes to travel and enjoys photography. Rome is one of his favourite places.