Major corporate restructuring at Sony; NP Singh now COO

MUMBAI: Sony Entertainment Television (SET) India is undergoing major corporate restructuring as far as its top management is concerned. The most significant elevation involves chief financial officer NP Singh who has been promoted to the COO's position and is clearly the number two man in Sony now after SET India CEO Kunal Dasgupta.

Singh's appointment also means that Sony will be finally having a COO after a long gap of just over three years, which was when then incumbent Rajesh Pant lost out in the major corporate restructuring that saw a number of other high profile names at Hindi entertainment television's number two network leaving.

Among the other appointments that Dasgupta confirmed to were as follows: SET India executive vice president programming and response Tarun Katial takes over as business head of the network's flagship channel SET. The current business head of SET, executive vice president Sunil Lulla, moves to a new portfolio as head of the digital & licensing business and new initiatives.

Senior vice president marketing Albert Almeida takes over as business head of SET's movies and special events channel Max, replacing Singh who had additional responsibilities over the channel after Rajat Jain left to join Disney as managing director. Filling up Almeida's place as marketing head will be Max vice president marketing and communications Tushar Shah.

Both Katial and Almeida will be reporting in to Singh.

All the appointments become effective as of 1 January, 2005.

Elaborating on the new digital & licensing business initiative, Dasgupta says, "The future of our business will not be as we know it today. With new opportunities in broadcasting and content management, the consumer will access our content and services, in multiple modes. Like our parent Sony Pictures Entertainment, in India, too, we are strategically prepared for a future that is digital, wireless, integrated and provides a new landscape to entertainment. It is with this in mind, we are building a strong team to drive the future of this business."

The digital & licensing business which will oversee digital marketing, brand management on the Web for the network, mobile & wireless publishing & licensing, digital sales & syndication, home video via DVD or other formats and broadband. Lulla, who will be in charge of the new business, will continue to report to Dasgupta.

Queried as to what would now happen to the CFO's post that Singh would be vacating, Dasgupta says that a suitable replacement would be brought in within the next two months. Singh also had HR, IT & new media, as well as the business development functions in addition to the finance portfolio under his purview, so there might well be some announcements there as well in due course.

The last time Sony witnessed such a major restructuring at the top levels of management was in October 2001. The difference this time of course being that the exit door has not been shown to anyone.


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