MUMBAI: Has Tarun Katial, Star India's senior vice-president, programming, content and communication, put in his papers following his transfer to Star Asia's head office in Hong Kong or not? Star denies he has resigned but sources close to Katial say the opposite.
While there are still attempts being made to get Katial to reconsider his decision to quit, his transfer to Hong Kong is final and irrevocable, sources close to the situation say. Information available with indiantelevision.com indicates that Star India COO Sameer Nair will internally be making the announcement today that Deepak Segal, creative director, Star Plus, is being redesignated senior vice-president, content and communication. Segal therefore will be taking over Katial's position at India's leading broadcast network.
Nair was reportedly scheduled to meet his "protege" this evening but it is unlikely to make any material difference to the situation. Sources close to Katial say he will be taking a month's break to decide what to do next. Knowing Katial's fondness for the UK as a holiday destination (his sister is settled there), Star's creative whizz kid would in all likelihood be headed there.
If Katial had agreed to the transfer to Hong Kong, it would have involved working very closely with Steve Askew, who till last week was the programming head of the pan-Asian broadcaster.
Askew has just been promoted to executive vice-president, television operations at Star and president, Star Entertainment. Askew now not only spearheads Star's programming in India, China and Taiwan, he also oversees the broadcast operations and engineering division of Star and the company's Taiwan operation.
Segal, a product of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), has been closely associated with Star's recent big budget detective series Josh... Aktion Unlimited. Segal comes from a film background. His father is the well known producer-director of yesteryears Mohan Segal.
Katial began his career at Saatchi & Saatchi but it was when he was at Ogilvy and Mather managing media buying on television that he first came into contact with Peter Mukerjea, heading ad sales at Star at the time. A few months after Mukerjea took over as CEO from Rathikant Basu in February 1999, he invited Katial to join Star.
Katial, who joined Star in July 1999 as assistant manager, strategy and planning, had a meteoric rise at the jewel in Rupert Murdoch's Asian crown to reach where he did today, managing all programming and marketing of the Star network.