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Times' Pradeep Guha tipped to join Zee as CEO

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MUMBAI / NEW DELHI: The rumours have surfaced before (of his leaving) on and off these past few years but this time it appears to be the real thing. Times Group president Pradeep Guha is slated to join Zee Telefilms Ltd as chief executive officer in the New Year, according to reliable industry sources.

Guha, whose official designation is president, Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (which counts The Times of India and Economic Times as its key publications), is expected to officially hand in his resignation to company vice-chairman Sameer Jain on 19 November. Jain is currently abroad, information available with indiantelevision.com indicates.

Reportedly taking over from Guha as overall head of Response (ad sales by another name) is Bennett, Coleman executive director Ravi Dhariwal.

When contacted by Indiantelevision.com for a comment on the reported developments, Guha's response was, "I am not denying that an offer has been made. As for the other points made in the report, there is no truth in it for the time being."

But when asked whether there was at least a possibility of his moving to Zee, Guha's reply appeared evasive. "Not for at least a month or two," he said.

A Zee Group spokesperson today, however, denied everything saying, "All these talks are in the realm of speculation."

According to industry sources, Guha accepted Chandra's offer to be ZTL's chief executive over a month ago.

One of the key briefs that Guha will likely have is to monetise India cricket (which Chandra remains confident of getting) to the maximum using every single media property the group has.

Guha is reportedly also taking along two people from Bennett, Coleman with him over to Zee --- Times of India Response director Bhaskar Das and the man directly below Das, Sujoy Bose.

As and when Guha moves over to Zee Tele, Chandra would slowly back away from day-to-day activities of running the company, which he had been doing after he designated himself CMD over 18 months ago. That would allow him the leeway to concentrate on charting out a visionary path for the whole Essel Goup, the parent entity for Chandra's various companies.

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