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ZEE Entertainment Board comes out in support of former directors Ashok Kurien & Manish Chokhani

Both Kurien and Chokhani had stepped down earlier this week

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Mumbai: The Board of Directors of ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) on Thursday came out in support of two of its former non-executive directors, Ashok Kurien and Manish Chokhani amid “allegations made by certain proxy advisory firms" against them.

Both Kurien and Chokhani had submitted their resignations to the Board earlier this week. The decision came at a time when two of ZEEL's top investors - Invesco Developing Markets Fund and OFI Global China Fund LLC - which together hold around 18 percent of the stake in the company, sent a special notice demanding the removal of Punit Goenka, Manish Chokhani, and Ashok Kurien as directors in an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM). 

In its media statement, the Board stated that it strongly condemns the allegations made against its former members, who had decided to step down from the Board due to their personal reasons and to pursue their interests beyond the confines of a boardroom. 

"Speculations disparaging the contribution of the said non-executive directors of the Company are baseless and arise out of an inadequate understanding of the industry. Decisions taken by committee members and the Board of Directors of the Company are being wrongly attributed to individual directors without any basis,” stated the Board. “ZEE is immensely grateful to both Kurien and Chokhani for their contribution towards the Company. Their guidance to the leadership team has been valuable, enabling ZEE to touch newer heights and deliver greater value to all its stakeholders year on year.”

The Board also highlighted that the interest of the shareholders has always been paramount for the Company under their mentorship, and it remains committed to maintain the highest standards of governance and transparency.

ZEEL chairman R Gopalan said, "As someone who sowed the seeds of ZEE, Kurien played a key role in steering the Company to newer heights with his contribution arising out of deep understanding and knowledge of the Media Industry. His vast expertise of 35 years in the industry has been instrumental in building ZEE as a leading entertainment brand and a creative content company not only in India but across the globe. As one of India’s most respected financial experts and investors, Chokhani’s astute management skills coupled with his analytical abilities have been of tremendous value to the Board. Chokhani has always been steadfast in his support towards ZEE and has guided the leadership team to higher success by setting new standards of performance excellence.”

The Board also lauded their contribution in the overall process of Board reconstitution, with the induction of eminent Independent directors. “The reconstituted Board will continue to ensure highest compliance practices and governance and set the benchmark for management accountability and transparency to further enhance the value of the Company” read the statement.

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