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ESS Sawhney moving to Singapore, to be replaced by former Kellog India MD

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MUMBAI: ESPN Star Sports bossman in India Manu Sawhney has been promoted and is moving to Singapore.

Sawhney, currently ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd managing director, has been promoted to ESS' senior V-P programming and event management group and will be operating out of Singapore.

Succeeding Sawhney as MD is RC Venkateish, formerly MD of Kellogg India. He will be responsible for advertising sales, marketing and distribution of ESPN India and Star Sports India networks and will report to Rik Dovey, MD ESS.

Venkateish appointment comes at a critical time, what with the CAS rollout just over a month away. To smoothen the transition, Sawhney will be based in India for at least the next couple of months working closely with Venkateish and the management team to ensure a smooth transition.

Even after that period Sawhney will be closely associated with operations in India as his brief is to oversee programming, acquisitions and scheduling of all the nine channels broadcast by ESS across Asia. That includes ESPN India and STAR Sports India as well.

Once he makes the move to Singapore, Sawhney will be responsible for acquiring, managing and scheduling programming across nine ESS networks in the region --ESPN Asia, ESPN India, ESPN Taiwan, ESPN Philippines, MBC-ESPN (Korea), STAR Sports Asia, STAR Sports India, STAR Sports Taiwan and STAR Sports S.E.A. All nine feeds are customized in line with local audience preferences.

Sawhney will also oversee the ESS Event Management Group (EMG) that specialises in creating, managing, promoting, producing and syndicating sporting events such as the Asian X Games Qualifier and Tour, Asian 9-Ball Tour, Asian Bowling Tour and English Premier League Asia Cup.

Sawhney joined ESPN Software India in 1996, and has been instrumental in building the India and South Asia operations. As the MD, he was responsible for ESPN India and Star Sports India networks including advertising sales, marketing and distribution.

Said Sawhney, "I have seen the India operations grow from a start up to the highest paid penetrated services across India. We redefined sports viewing in India to become the biggest niche channel bouquet and undisputed leader of sports broadcasting. I am happy that the company has now entrusted me with one of the most challenging functions to oversee event management and programming of all the regional networks of ESPN STAR Sports."

Venkateish, meanwhile, is an alumnae of IIT Madras and IIM Kolkata, Venkateish has over 20 years' experience in the FMCG business and has worked with Kellogg, Oral B, Nestle and Smith Kline Beecham with stints both in India and abroad. Venkateish said: "Sports has been a passion with me since childhood. I look forward to the exciting opportunity at ESPN Software India Ltd."

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