HuffPost India to debut in November; Jimmy Soni leaves company

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Jimmy Soni. (CNN)
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The Huffington Post this morning officially announced the launch of its forthcoming India site, which will debut this fall in a partnership with the Times of India Group, bringing the number of international HuffPost editions to 12.

But there's been at least one key change in the plans: Arianna Huffington told Adweek the site will no longer be led by former managing editor Jimmy Soni as originally planned, but instead by executive international editor Nicholas Sabloff, who will be heading to India in the coming weeks along with international general manager Koda Wang, who will run the business side.

Huffington had previously said, in a May 21 memo announcing Soni's shift from managing editor to the India posting, that it was "Jimmy's dream to spearhead the launch in India, where his parents were born and raised, and as India is such a huge and important market for us, I'm delighted that he will be there from the beginning of this effort until the launch."

A HuffPost spokeswoman told Capital Soni has left the company to write a book for Simon & Schuster about the late Claude Shannon, known as "the father of information theory." He will still be heading to New Delhi, where HuffPost India will be based, to consult on the launch, she said, though "there's no plan for him to return to full-time."

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Numerous current and former employees have told Capital that Soni's initial change in roles was widely viewed as a demotion brought about in the wake of internal complaints about his management style and his interactions with certain employees.

Soni is a precocious former McKinsey consultant who became The Huffington Post's managing editor in January 2012 at the age of 26 following a stint as Huffington's chief of staff.

But as we reported several weeks before he was reassigned, he alienated many in the newsroom with a tireless focus on traffic and a personality that clashed with other top HuffPost journalists.

As for HuffPost India, Huffington Post C.E.O. Jimmy Mayman called the subcontinent a "critical destination for any global media company," noting in a press release that "with Indian household consumption predicted to continue to grow nearly 20% per year, this partnership gives us an ideal entry into what is expected to become the world's fifth-largest consumer market within the next ten years."

Adweek reported that the site will launch November 25.