William Lewis, Former CEO of Dow Jones & Publisher of The Wall Street Journal

William Lewis shared this recommendation for Rajiv on June 04, 2020.

Rajiv is an inspirational digital leader, who combines technical expertise with strategic direction, and a deeply authentic and ethical approach to leadership. He came into the Wall Street Journal newsroom at a critical moment and was transformative. I hope to work again with him one day.

William Lewis served as Chief Executive Officer of Dow Jones & Company and Publisher of The Wall Street Journal from 2014 to 2020.

Matthew Murray, Editor in Chief of The Wall Street Journal

Matthew Murray
Editor in Chief

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

To Whom It May Concern:

When Rajiv Pant arrived at The Wall Street Journal, our technology was in a mess in every way—in the personnel, in how it prioritized and focused and in how it interacted with news and the rest of the company.

Rajiv transformed their entire department within weeks. He methodically and fairly rearranged and upgraded our talent, making his expectations clear, giving everyone the chance to contribute, but not hesitating to make changes as needed. He was a magnet for talent. He understood exactly how to fit technology properly in the center of our larger effort, how to connect with news and other functions and how to focus on specific, achievable and remarkable product improvements.

He did more. His managerial acumen is very high, and he was able to quickly establish procedures and protocols from chaos that gave us clear goals, measurable progress and much deeper satisfaction for our users. He understands engineering talent and psychology and what motivates people. More than that, he understood how engineers and designers fit in alongside crusty reporters and graphics artists. He made the WSJ an exciting place to work for his team, probably for the first time ever for many of them.

He is a skillful navigator of his teams, peers, and bosses—quite difficult in a crowded newsroom—and quickly raised the game for all of us. It is not too much to say that it was not until his time here that we truly became a technologically adept newsroom and company. When he left us, he left an organization that was of a much higher caliber and competency than we’d ever had. He was a builder.

I found him also to be useful and thoughtful senior leader on a range of issues, from strategy in the broadest sense to important tasks like prioritization and time management. In his relatively short time here he was a pivotal figure for us. We miss him.

In the right role at the right time he showed himself to be a transformational leader and important figure for the Journal. he has my wholehearted recommendation. And I’d be happy to share any further insights if helpful.


Matthew Murray
Editor in Chief
The Wall Street Journal

Here is the original signed recommendation on letterhead in PDF format:

Related: Here is a memo Matt previously wrote to the WSJ newsroom announcing my promotion.

Kathryn Friedrich, EVP, GM of Operations at Conde Nast Entertainment

Kathryn Friedrich shared this recommendation for Rajiv on November 25, 2019 via LinkedIn:

I started at Thrive Global at the same time as Rajiv. We were both coming from large prestigious companies and beginning the “start up journey” together. Rajiv was an amazing asset and a partner on the leadership team. As CTO and CMO we were not only responsible for building the business, but also the culture.

Rajiv built a strong and loyal team that embraced the challenges of getting the infrastructure of the company built from the ground up. He worked tirelessly to make sure we launched on time and with accurate assurances that we could handle traffic, volume and anything else that was thrown at us. His leadership skills to guide the team during uncertainty and ambiguity were second to none. He cared about the work and the team equally and knew when to be more hands on, but also knew when the hands off approach could yield better results. He was both a leader and a student for everyone on the team.

As CTO, Rajiv drove overall business strategy. His contributions did not stop with our product and technology. He actively participated in business planning and strategic conversations about growth, and was thoughtful in his approach to building for the future. He secured many partnership conversations and led active brainstorming around AI that could accelerate our trajectory.

I would easily recommend Rajiv for any role he intends to pursue in the future and I hope I get a chance to work with him again.

As Chief Marketing & Revenue Officer at Thrive Global, Kathryn worked with Rajiv. Kathryn is now EVP, GM of Operations at Conde Nast Entertainment. Previously, she served as Global Head of Content Monetization at YouTube and was a Google employee for nearly 9 years.

Jason Patterson, Software Engineer at Instagram at Facebook

Jason Patterson shared this recommendation for Rajiv on November 25, 2019 via LinkedIn:

I worked with Rajiv as Director of Mobile Technology at The Wall Street Journal, and later as Distinguished Engineer, during a transformation of the iPhone app for The Wall Street Journal.

As a manager, I observed Rajiv’s talent for putting together a team of people to execute on a common mission. He was able to rally whole departments from disparate areas of the enterprise (from Technology, to the Newsroom, to Customer Membership) with a focus on the big picture.

As an engineer, I was given the flexibility to design and develop impactful solutions. By shifting our product and technology initiatives to focus on OKRs (objectives and key results), he was able to let teams come up with the solutions that delivered on company goals, instead of being prescriptive with top-down solutions.

In addition to focusing on OKRs as a success metric, he was also able to help fight to grow teams that were under-resourced, and transformed the WSJ delivery culture from a mindset of big-bang releases to a new normal of constant incremental improvement. This allowed the business to reap benefits earlier. The fruits of these efforts eventually yielded a Webby award for best mobile news app.

As Distinguished Software Engineer and Director of Mobile Engineering at The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones, Jason worked with Rajiv. Jason is now a software engineer at Instagram/Facebook.

Katharine Bailey, SVP, Product at The Wall Street Journal

Katharine Bailey shared this recommendation for Rajiv on November 21, 2019. This is the full version of what she wrote and also shared via LinkedIn:

I worked for Rajiv for two years, from 2017 to 2019 at The Wall Street Journal, where he held the role of CTO and CPO.

Before he arrived, I held a position of leading digital product, and we had been going through a tough period of transition.  I had gotten to the point within product where I wanted a new and exciting challenge, and in my desire to learn, I was interviewing for a new opportunity.  I was offered a plum opportunity, with a higher title and a broader scope. I was very close to taking it — and then I got to know Rajiv. Rajiv is unlike any other leader I have worked for….

He treated me like an equal, and reminded me frequently of how much he was also learning from me.  He used to tell me that he could have ended up working for me just as easily as me for him.  He would go out of his way to ask about product and my process, and with every probing question I felt he made me a bit better at my craft.  He would suggest countless books and way of thinking, and initiated interesting dialogues with the team around themes like empathy in product development, and the selflessness in leadership. He led by example in that we are all students in our careers and to stop learning is to stagnate – the worst possible fate. He relished in vigorous debate, giving us the gift of critical thinking when it came to coming up with the best solution for the problem at hand, whether it be the right authoring tool approach for our newsroom; how to handle successful authentication and access, or how to best handle personalization in our iOS app.

Inevitably those navigating the trio: the tough terrain of product, engineering and design, tend to favor one above the others, leading to a rather lopsided org from a focus and process perspective.  Rajiv conceded that engineering was his background, but his curiosity for design and product had him engaged and collaborating, and amazingly all three legs of the stool were on equal footing. Together we drafted a vision for what Product, Design and Engineering should look like as a single organization, replete with values, roadmaps, and process drill-downs. What was even better was we socialized it and brought it into practice.  He also brought solid talent into the team, recruiting from Apple, NY Times and Scripps, serving as a strong indication to all of us that Rajiv is someone people follow.

Product had so long worked through KPIs, but they never got the traction they deserved. Enter OKRs, a critical underpinning to our PDE story.  Rajiv introduced them to me, and really brought them to life. It was a way to tell a story, backed with a mission and attach quantifiable results.  One of the most wonderful things about Rajiv is he actually let me run with the idea. He allowed it to be mine, where others might have been slightly more territorial.  He supported me and gave me air cover as I championed them tirelessly across the organization.  Rajiv is an incredible boss. Remarkably because of our work, OKRs were adopted company-wide at Dow Jones across the B2C and B2B businesses. And this was not without tough times, and myriad questions about them.  Rajiv encouraged flexibility around how we presented them, and helped me understand the value of really “understanding the API” of the person across from you. He would always tell me that you must understand your audience when making any argument.  He countless times helped me do just that, which is a great part of the reason we had so much success in his tenure here. What Rajiv was really doing with OKRs was trying to tie all of our wonderful product work back to the bottom line, and with that giving it greater more far-reaching relevance.

Rajiv also has a remarkable ability to galvanize a team, to instill a sense of pride in their work. I watched as he regularly would check in with team members to hear about their projects, and he would encourage them to publish post about their work for external review. One woman who was quite shy felt some of that encouragement and actually authored a medium post about how OKRs work with engineers in the mobile team. This was all with Rajiv’s cheerleading all the way — it was magical to watch her gain such a sense of confidence.  He also encouraged us to publish a newsletter about all of work great product development work we were doing for WSJ. The final product was slick, well-written and broadly consumed. It really helped raise the profile of our team, well beyond order takers and into the zone of being innovators.

Lastly, Rajiv is one of the most fun and kind people I have ever worked with. He is always respectful, and thoughtful — caring about his employees, and passionate about their bringing their full selves to work. In this way he models the kind of environment he wants to create and shape.  Disagreements between people would fall away with Rajiv, and he would refocus us on the job to be done, and on the importance of mutual respect.

I hope I would work with Rajiv again, and if you get the chance to work with him…jump at it.

As Senior Vice President of Product at The Wall Street Journal, Katharine reported to Rajiv.

Jordan Sudy, VP, Goldman Sachs

Jordan Sudy shared this recommendation for Rajiv on November 20, 2019 via LinkedIn:

I’ve had the honor of working under Rajiv at both the NYT and the WSJ. His talent and expertise as both a technology and product leader is, relative to my experience, and I’m sure to the great majority of others, extraordinarily rare. Even more rare is the fact that his talent is contagious— or as he would put it— ‘his API’ so well organized, accessible and able that those of us lucky enough to be plugged into it soon find that we’re connect to a source which inexplicably, almost magically, allows us to get our jobs done par excellence— while at the same time, we somehow have fun— and as a result of both, do we become better at our jobs and kinder in dealing with our colleagues and customers than we ever thought possible.

So clearly: I really do look back at the time spent reporting to Rajiv with awe. Simply put, Rajiv is a source of good for both people and for the products that they work together to build. And, while in the top level roles he occupies, this should of course be the rule rather than the exception, any professional knows this unfortunately not to be the case.

So…fortunately for myself and all my colleagues at the NYT and WSJ who either worked directly for Rajiv, or within the systems he worked tirelessly to stand up, we can say we got to work under exceptional circumstances, and as a result got to turn out, literally, speaking for myself and others, career making products.

For proof of this, one need look no farther than the award winning products that the most trusted names in media and journalism were able to ship during the time Rajiv was present. It is no coincidence. It was Rajiv driving.

Therefore I do not hesitate to proudly say: any company who wants to do best for their products, people and customers, need look no farther than Rajiv Pant, a true leader and force for good: exceptionally so.

As Vice President of Product for Mobile at The Wall Street Journal, Jordan reported in to Rajiv. Jordan is now a Vice President at Goldman Sachs.

Roben Kleene, Former iOS Engineering Manager at The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones

Roben Kleene shared this recommendation for Rajiv on November 17, 2019 via LinkedIn:

Rajiv has a rare gift for leadership that energizes an organization. The formula is connecting with teams, understanding their challenges, and providing just the right balance of space and support to help them succeed. That he does it all with warmth and good humor is a generous bonus.

I worked with Rajiv as an iOS engineering manager at The Wall Street Journal, and I was impressed by how available he made himself to our teams. His advice and support were invaluable in navigating our teams challenges. There was never any question that Rajiv had our backs, and that was a constant source of motivation. He made it clear that our work mattered, and that our path to success wouldn’t be sidetracked.

I can wholeheartedly recommend Rajiv’s leadership for any organization.

As iOS Engineering Manager and Lead iOS Engineer at The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones, Roben worked with Rajiv. Roben is now founder of a mobile technology startup.

Che Douglas, VP of Design at Booking.com

Che Douglas shared this recommendation for Rajiv on November 17, 2019 via LinkedIn:

Rajiv is a professional, dedicated, smart and inspiring leader — his actions speak louder than his words. Something that Rajiv said to me shortly after we met in 2016 showcase this more than anything else. He said “Win people over without defeating others.” At first, I liked the sentiment of his quote, but didn’t realize at that time what an impact it would have on me and The Wall Street Journal’s culture.

I worked with Rajiv at The Wall Street Journal and Newscorp for two years, between 2017 and 2019, where he held the position of Chief Technology Officer & Chief Product Officer at the WSJ and later on Deputy CTO at Newscorp.

I saw him live out this value every day — I saw how this repeatedly resolved conflicts and broke down silos. This collaborative and trusted environment Rajiv grew, quickly became a work-place that everyone felt welcome in and produced their very best work. Under his leadership we built the first fused Product, Design and Engineering department at the WSJ.

We worked with some incredibly talented people during this time, were able to win a Webby award for the best news app and I think this was his most impressive feat — not the work itself because that involved many many skilled people — but the fact that Rajiv brought all those people together with a common purpose — and was able to rally the entire company and executive team to make something really great.

It is empowering to work for someone that you know is deeply interested in your craft, the value it brings and what you can contribute. Rajiv was willing to push and promote design, design thinking and what it means to be customer first not only internally but to the world at large.

If you have the chance to work with or for him, take it.

As Senior Vice President of Design at The Wall Street Journal, Che reported to Rajiv. Che is now Vice President of Design at Booking.com.

Andy Nichol, Deputy CTO, Dow Jones and Company

Andy Nichol, Deputy CTO Dow Jones wrote this recommendation for Rajiv on November 17, 2019:

I have worked with Rajiv for three years. During that time we have partnered on a transformation programme at Wall Street Journal which has changed the way new product features are designed and delivered towards a collaborative process involving all parts of the editorial and commercial teams as well as product managers, designers and engineers.

Rajiv was instrumental in developing existing members of the team and also hiring in new talent to help us adopt new technologies and ways of working.

Rajiv’s particular achievement was to foster a strong culture of open minded collaboration nurturing new ides and approaches. This has led to enormous improvements in the stability and performance of our products and strong growth in page views and subscriptions.

As Deputy CTO of Dow Jones, a News Corp company, Andy worked with Rajiv.

Importance of Mentorship Article by Yujin Kim, CTO of WorkMarket

In his recent article about the importance of mentorship, Yujin Kim, Chief Technology Officer at WorkMarket (an ADP company) talks about what he learned from his mentors and how they helped shape his career and life.

Yujin and I worked together for four years at Conde Nast and then for another four years at The New York Times. We have been friends and colleagues for twelve years. I witnessed Yujin grow from an engineering lead to CTO of WorkMarket. Yujin is an excellent engineering leader, a meticulous manager, and a caring collaborator.

I am honored that Yujin mentioned me in his article (and I feel lucky that my name happened to appear first, even though his other mentors are more accomplished than I am.)

Follow this link to read his article on mentorship.