Television

Harish Thawani set to instal new Nimbus CEO

MUMBAI: Nimbus Communications Ltd CMD Harish Thawani is set to hand over the day-to-day management of the company he incorporated in 1987 to someone else, most probably from within his organisation. An announcement to this effect is expected by 25 May.

"The process of finalising a candidate is on at the moment," Thawani told indiantelevision.com, when asked who would be taking charge as CEO. "In the next 15 days we should hopefully have arrived at a consensus on just who that person will be and we hope to make an announcement by 25 May," Thawani said, adding his role would henceforth be to provide strategic direction to the company.

Thawani, who is out of the country at the moment, said he had consciously kept himself out of the selection process and the evaluations were being made by the company board comprising three independent members and four executive directors.

While refusing to commit on a name, Thawani said the next Nimbus CEO would be extremely strong on the creative side of the business. "We are looking for a leader who will provide the impetus to drive the creative side of the business and at the same time with whom our other business partners, whether it be advertisers, the sports side or production can be comfortable," Thawani said.

"To create consistency of output in the creative field" is the company's long term goal, Thawani said.

"This is not a sudden decision. We have been preparing for this for over a year and a half now. Internally, the decision had been taken that after the World Cup we would make the transition," he clarified.

"As I said earlier, what we will need is someone to manage the domestic business which is worth Rs 200 crores (Rs 2,000 million). Most of it though, is marketing led. We want to change that ratio toward content deliveries," Thawani pointed out.

While Thawani was mum on a likely choice of successor, the only one who fits the creative bill from within the company appears to be Nimbus COO Akash Khurana. An award winning actor and script writer (apart from being an engineering graduate, an MBA from XLRI, a former Telco executive and a Doctorate from TISS), is Khurana.

And what happens if a suitable candidate is not found after internal evaluation? "If we do not find a consensus choice from within the company we will then look outside."

Thawani said there were two personal interests that he wanted to devote more time to now. The first was the book that he was writing and the second a sports academy. "I have identified a place near Dehradun (in Uttaranchal)," he said. Initially the academy will offer sports scholarships to talented individuals. "But within two years we are looking at having a fully fledged sports academy running and it will be totally free for those who we believe have it in them to reach the top," he said.

But it is not as if the man will be taking a sabbatical or any such. "I will devote more energies to driving the global ambitions of the company. On the sports side, we have established ourselves. Now I am looking at pushing the film production side of the business globally," he said.

"We've already produced two movies and are in the process of completing our third. There are eight films in the pipeline that will roll out over the next 22 months. We expect to make an announcement about this in the next few weeks."

If all this comes as a bit of a shock, it's hardly surprising. It's a tad difficult to believe when looking at a company so closely linked in the mind and otherwise (Thawani holds 87 per cent of the stake in Nimbus) with its founder.

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