Former BMW marketer now a media mogul
As career paths go, this may be a first: starting as a product planner at a car company and winding up as CEO of a major media outlet.
Baba Shetty, 47, has done it. The Iowa native began in 1990 at Mazda North American Operations, where he spent three years as a product planner. Moving to BMW of North America, Shetty worked in the 3-series product group and eventually became head of marketing communications before leaving in 2000. Now he has been named CEO of Newsweek Daily Beast Co., after some big jobs in ad agencies.
Shetty oversaw advertising, media and direct marketing at BMW of North America in the 1990s and was a key figure in the decision to develop the acclaimed BMW online film series that was all the rage a decade ago.
Jim McDowell, Mini's top man in the United States and Shetty's long-ago boss at BMW, once said: "He had a lot of talent, so we groomed him cross-functionally."
Back then Shetty described himself as an early-adopter type. "I was the first in my neighborhood to get broadband," he once told Automotive News. "I am mesmerized by the possibilities of the technology."
He left BMW to start and head Forrester Research's automotive practice and later became group account director for BMW at Fallon, the Minneapolis advertising agency.
Shetty joined Newsweek Daily Beast from the ad agency Hill Holliday, where he was chief strategy and media officer. He will replace Stephen Colvin, who has been CEO since 2009. The Daily Beast, a news and opinion Web site, was founded in 2008 and merged with Newsweek in 2010.