When contacted, Dutt refrained from commenting on his exit. Television
Eighteen CEO Haresh Chawla, however, said, "Ashu has decided
to take on other opportunities and we wish him all the best."
Beyond that Chawla did not say much, trying to downplay Dutt's
exit. Industry sources also indicated that Television Eighteen's
plans to launch a Hindi business channel, along with CNBC, may also
get delayed from the projected launch time of end-2004.
Meanwhile, among his diverse assignments, Ashu has been CEO and
director on the Board of Sab TV, business and financial markets
anchor and business news consultant to Star News. On the corporate
side, he has been a principal and head of the Media and Entertainment
Practice for Heidrick & Struggles.
Currently, Dutt is working on three books for Penguin, the subjects
focussing on financial markets.
At Star News --- at a time when content was being provided by NDTV---
Dutt spearheaded the conception of a number of business and financial
news segments and anchored Star Business News. Interestingly, Dutt
was never a full-time employee of TV-18 and was appointed to overlook
the editorial for personal finance shows like Insurance, Intelligence,
Mutual Fund Investor and Classroom. A contractual agreement
with TV 18 gave Dutt the freedom to pursue other businesses.
Industry sources, though, did say that Dutt's exit would be a loss
to the business news channel, considering Dutt's experience and
cachet in the financial markets.