Hearst Taps Yahoo Vet Khemlani as VP, Digital Media

Signaling plans to transform its siloed approach to the Web, Hearst Corp. has tapped a Yahoo executive as vp of digital media, a new position at the company.

Neeraj Khemlani was named to vp and special assistant to the CEO for digital media at the publishing and broadcasting company. Khemlani will report directly to Frank Bennack Jr., vice chairman and CEO for the private company, and start March 23.

At Yahoo, Khemlani was vp, general manager for Yahoo News & Information as Yahoo Originals. A career journalist who started as a newspaper reporter before becoming a producer for 60 Minutes, he leaves as Yahoo was preparing to restructure its media unit. A number of executives have left the struggling company lately.

In a statement, Bennack said Khemlani would be charged with accelerating Hearst’s digital transformation by promoting greater cooperation across the company’s business units. Khemlani said he would be working with Hearst’s online staffs at its respective business units to help leverage their Web content. “It’s adding a new a batter to the lineup,” he said. “This gives them a new person with a new perspective.”

Bennack reassumed the CEO post last year after Victor Ganzi resigned amid speculation that Hearst’s board was impatient with the company’s pace of adoption of digital media as growth in its traditional businesses slowed.

With recent hires, Bennack has indicated a strong emphasis on building the company’s digital expertise. In December, he brought on Scott Sassa, longtime NBC exec and a former president and CEO of social networking site Friendster, as president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication.