MUMBAI: People movements continue to dog the Network18 group. The latest to head towards the door is group CEO B. Sai Kumar who spent close to 14 years with Network18, founded by Raghav Bahl. Sai had ably stepped into Haresh Chawla’s shoes when the latter decided to go his own way in his entrepreneurial forays.
A notice to the Bombay Stock Exchange states that Sai Kumar was with the group during its formative years and that he was responsible for the creation and management of the group’s various ventures – the business news partnership with CNBC ; the general news partnership with CNN; the entertainment partnership with Viacom and the infotainment deal with A+E Networks and the group’s digital forays.
Sai Kumar's departure comes at a time when the group has reported turnaround financials just yesterday.
The BSE notice quotes Sai Kumar as saying: “Network18 has been an extension of my family. I take with me very good memories and I will always cherish the time spent here. It has been a tremendous learning ground. Passion and hard work – they brought to work everyday. While all good things come to an end, I see it as a new beginning and I am positive and hopeful that Network18 scales new heights hereon.”
Added Network18 founder and editor Raghav Bahl in the BSE release: “It’s not easy to describe Sai’s role and contribution to the group. He has been one of the key pillars of the Network18 story. I am truly privileged to have been able to work with someone like Sai who has given the prime of his life to group and development of a baby called Network18, right from the days when it was a fledgling single channel operation to its evolution as one of India’s largest and most diversified and respected media companies. We shall miss him; but there comes a time when one takes heed to one’s calling and I wish Sai all the best for that.”
The news has indeed come as a shocker to many in the industry. Amongst those who have put in their papers over the past year include: IBN18 CEO Dilip Venkatraman, CNBC TV18’s Udayan Mukherji, CNN-IBN's Suhasini Haider.
Dilip was recently replaced by former Times Television head Avinash Kaul.
But the group has senior talent aplenty with the likes of Viacom18 CEO Sudhanshu Vats; Colors CEO Raj Nayak, Indiacast CEO Anuj Gandhi, and Network18 COO Ajay Chacko.