MUMBAI: The buzz has been strong. Several media outlets have reported it too. But IBN 18 editor in chief Rajdeep Sardesai has been in complete denial that he has jettisoned - nor would he be jettisoning - from the news network.
However, earlier today, Sardesai sent out an email to his teams at the channels which seeks to clarify where he stands as far as his employment with IBN18 is concerned in order to end the speculation and concerns expressed by so many of his colleagues.
Says he in the email: “…After a long and wearying (and highly enjoyable) election season, I am taking a short break from the newsroom (haven’t taken one in over a year!). I will be on a month’s leave: reading, writing travelling, watching the world cup soccer, and, hopefully recharging the mind.”
Rajdeep adds that he aims to be back on 1 July. “Please keep the energy levels up through the next few weeks and always put journalism first! Vinay, Radha, Nikhail Sanjeev and the rest of the team will be there to keep the flag flying.”
However, sources within the network and close to him reveal that Rajdeep has indeed resigned and has even got an offer from Penguin to pen a book. Something which he has been keen to do.
Whether he will come back from the short vacation is a big question mark. His wife and leading IBN18 anchor and journalist Sagarika Ghose will also be accompanying him on his time-off. The grapevine is that they are maintaining the “leave” story so as to soften the impact on the editorial teams at CNN-IBN and IBN7. And both are most unlikely to return.
Only time will tell whether we have seen the last of Rajdeep as editor in chief of IBN18.
Already senior management right from founder of the Network18 group Raghav Bahl, his wife and director Ritu Kapur, his sister and executive director Vandana Mallick, CEO B. Sai Kumar, COO Ajay Chacko, CFO RDS Bawa, legal counsel Kshipra Jatana have departed from the group. Prior to that Suhasini Haider, Karan Thapar, CEO Dilip Venkatraman too had decided to quit.
Sources internally state that the takeover by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries will see headcount being lowered; already last year some 300 professionals had been asked to go as the group struggled to cope with the excess manpower that had been hired following its rapid growth and expansion.
A new leadership team is expected to be announced very soon for the news network – CNN-IBN, IBN7, IBN Lokmat, CNBC TV18, CNBC Awaaz - and for the Network18 group as a whole.