Media speculation rife on Karmazin's next stop

MUMBAI: After Viacom what does Mel Karmazin have next up his sleeve? That is the big question doing the rounds of US media circles.

There has been strong talk that Karmazin might join Disney in the near future by succeeding Michael Eisner as the CEO. That is something Roy Disney and the dissident group would be cock a hoop about. The differences between Eisner and Roy Disney have been well documented.

However, not surprisingly, Disney chairman George Mitchell reacted to the talk by issuing a statement saying, "The board has complete confidence in the current management. On the strength of our recent results we believe that confidence has been justified, and will be further validated as our performance continues to improve."

The Disney talk has been gaining momentum because Eisner's top deputy, Bob Iger is not seen as a potential heir to the Disney throne. Karmazin is said to be on a list of at least 20 candidates the Disney board has compiled for succession.

There has also been talk of Karmazin heading to Time Warner. A report in CBS Marketwatch stated that while Time Warner chairman and CEO Richard Parsons has thus far been able to keep shareholders happy, should Time Warner stumble again Karmazin could well be called upon to revive the giant. In fact rumours of Time Warner looking at Karmazin go back over a year when the outfit was called AOL Time Warner. At that time he had been courted to serve as president of the media conglomerate.

There is also the possibility of Karmazin being tapped to function as Parsons' number 2, but that remains another long shot.

Media reports are also of the opinion that Karmazin going to NBC Universal is a more distant shot. That is because NBC is going though a difficult phase. On his part Karmazin has maintained that so far he has not intimated anybody about his future plans.

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