Nimbus' Thawani steps down; Akash Khurana takes charge

MUMBAI: The board of directors of Nimbus Communications Ltd has announced the appointment of Dr Akash Khurana as MD and CEO with immediate effect. Khurana succeeds Harish Thawani, who will continue as executive chairman of the company. The stated aim is to make the company a creative powerhouse.

Thawani's decision to let go as far as day-to-day running of the company was concerned was reported by on 3 May.


Dr Khurana's mandate is to transform Nimbus over the next three years into a creative powerhouse with multiple corporate and creative leaders. It is the vision of the company that in those three years, he takes over as chairman, having groomed his successor for MD and CEO, an official release states.

The choice of Dr Khurana to lead the company was a unanimous one and was taken in consultation with senior management and significant shareholders of Nimbus, the release says.

With an increasing focus on content product lines: television, motion pictures and music; and with a view to building multiple leaders in the company, it was felt that Nimbus should now be led by a creative leader with a HR focus and domain expertise in both and the company believes Dr Khurana fits the bill.

Thawani will henceforth be involved only with corporate strategy, new businesses mentoring and international ventures including joint ventures (such as World Sport Nimbus) and alliances. Nimbus is currently evaluating five allied lines of new businesses in the media and entertainment industry and to help new managers kick start them will be one of his key tasks in the months to come.

Thawani is quoted as saying: "The man's a genius - how can anyone be an engineer, an MBA, a marketing man, an award winning actor, an award winning screenwriter and a doctorate in human resource development? Nimbus is indeed very very lucky to have him and I have no doubt that he will make a far better creative and corporate leader than I could ever be."

Nimbus is currently involved with television content (2002-2003 produced over 300 hours of original content); motion pictures (two movies released in the past 18 months, three releases targeted over the next 12 months including the Hindi blockbuster Sarhad Paar); music (with its new label Nirvana Music lining up 12-15 releases for 2003-2004); sports (with a dominant position in cricket marketing and live production through its JV World Sport Nimbus); and media marketing (where it continues its traditional domination of air time sales in the biggest products on TV, i.e. cricket and movies).

The 2002-2003 sales of Nimbus were just under Rs 1.5 billion (unaudited) and sales handled by World Sport Nimbus in 2002-2003 were over $ 105 million .i.e. approximately Rs 5 billion equivalent (unaudited).

A brief CV of Dr Khurana

Dr Khurana is an engineering graduate with an MBA from XLRI and an M.Phil. and Ph.D. from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. He started his career as an executive with TELCO.

Dr Khurana took up a full time career in the media and entertainment industry in the late 1980s. Before that he was already involved in theatre and was also the founder of the theatre magazine Ovation. Having directed and acted in many successful theatre productions, he made his first screen appearance in Shyam Benegal's Kalyug and went on to play character roles in over 50 films such as Saaransh, Ardh Satya, Sarfarosh, and Company. He won the Nandi Award of Andhra Pradesh for playing the lead in the Telugu film Dr Ambedkar.

Swayam directed by Mahesh Bhatt marked his debut as a screenwriter. He has written over 20 scripts, his best known work being Baazigar for which he won the Filmfare Award for best screenplay.

Dr Khurana has also been a visiting faculty at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, teaching subjects like creativity in learning organisations, organisational behaviour, business environment, and communications.

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