Hindustan Times EP Kohli to quit, Sharma likely to succeed

NEW DELHI: Changes are in the offing in The Hindustan Times, Delhi and north India's former No 1 newspaper that has been displaced from the top slot by The Times of India.

Executive president Rajan Kohli will be leaving the organisation - voluntarily, it is said. The names that are doing the rounds to succeed him include that of Rakesh Sharma, an old timer with HT and the current printer and publisher of the newspaper.

An outsider's name that is raising quite a few eyebrows is that of the CEO of a TV company that recently went public. This person had also worked with HT's rival at one point of time.

Kohli took over as the EP at HT from Deepak Shourie in the late 1990s at a time when the newspaper was experimenting with changes in in its format, masthead and also planning aggressive expansion outside Delhi to become truly a national newspaper being published from several places.

The expansion did take place with hiccups along the way, but HT also got slowly swamped by an aggressive TOI during this period. The much-touted Mumbai edition, which has been talked about for over a decade now, has not not made an appearance, though over the past six months much activity has taken place in this regard.

Kohli's stint with HT has been rare in the sense that he has been amongst the few exceptions where a professional from outside the organisation had occupied the top management post, after the owner-promoter's family.

Shourie, who had taken over from Naresh Mohan, a trusted aide of KK Birla for several decades, was another rare exception.

Kohli's departure was communicated to the to the senior-level functionaries of HT Ltd. in a personal communique from Shobhna Bhartia, Birla's daughter, who now virtually run the newspaper empire.

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