Why is Sanjay Jha so popular on Google?


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Who the heck is Sanjay Jha? He had risen to the top of Google’s Hot Trends rankings, which means he was being searched for vigorously.

People were probably looking for the Sanjay Jha who until recently was chief operating officer of Qualcomm, the San Diego-based chip maker. Today he jumped ship to Motorola to become its co-chief executive and CEO of the mobile devices business.


It’s a big job: Motorola’s handset division has been losing money for a few years, and the company said earlier this year that it planned to spin off its cellphone division. ‘Our ability to attract a leader of Sanjay’s caliber is a testament to the strong potential of the mobile devices business,’ said co-CEO Greg Brown.

Jha’s an impressive leader indeed -- and apparently very versatile. If you Google his name, you’ll find that in addition to being a whiz in telecom, Sanjay Jha is also a Bollywood filmmaker who worked on such movies as ‘Praan Jaye Par Shaan na Jaye’ and ‘Mission Kashmir.’ He’s also South Asia bureau chief for the Canadian-based website NowPublic (and won the prestigious Loeb award this year to boot!) as well as an Amazon user in Toronto who took (and failed) the Oracle database exam.

Will the real Sanjay Jha please stand up?

Motorola’s Sanjay Jha, as it turns out, is ...

... not a Bollywood director or a journalist, nor does he live in Toronto. He has a PhD in electronic and electrical engineering from the University of Strathclyde, in Scotland, and began working for Qualcomm in 1994. Google also reveals that he told GigaOM in April that he sees big potential for mobile commerce and that he made nearly $900,000 in salary and bonus in 2002.

Analysts didn’t seem to mind that Jha doesn’t wear all those hats. They called it a ‘big win’ for Motorola and sent the company’s stock soaring nearly 13%.

Motorola’s Jha said in a statement that he was looking forward to creating ‘a successful independent mobile devices company that will continue to innovate for years to come.’

For many Web users, that’s probably not as exciting as Bollywood. Jha had been bumped to No. 9 on Google Hot Trends by 11:30 this morning, as the Wall Street traders figured out who he was. He was replaced in the top rankings by, among others, terms related to Morgan Freeman’s car accident.


-- Alana Semuels

Semuels, a Times staff writer, covers marketing and the L.A. tech scene.