NDTV president, other senior executives resigned

NEW DELHI : More than a month after the Adani Group’s takeover of NDTV, the channel’s group president Suparna Singh, Chief Strategy Officer Arijit Chatterjee, Chief Technology and Product Officer Kawaljit Singh Bedi have resigned from the television broadcasting network. “They have been the pillars of strength for the group and have played important roles in getting the company back to profitability.
We wish them the very best in their future endeavors. They will be here for the next few weeks to enable a smooth transition of responsibilities. Their direct repartees and all heads of departments will start reporting to me with immediate effect,” wrote Sanjay Pugalia, the network’s new director, in an email to the channel’s staff.
“In line with the thoughts I shared during the town hall, the Adani Group is committed to transitioning NDTV into a new-age, global digital media organisation. As I interact with many of you at NDTV, I am more than convinced that we have the value system, mindset, capability and credibility to make our aspirations come true soon. We shall work together and keep you updated at all stages.”Meanwhile, announcing the resignations earlier in a regulatory filing on Friday, NDTV said the company was in the process of putting up a new leadership team which will set a fresh strategic direction and goals for the broadcaster.
Last month, the network’s founders Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy sold 27.26 percent of their remaining 32.26 percent shareholding to the Adani conglomerate. After an open offer, the Adani Group earlier emerged as the majority shareholder in NDTV. The open offer came after the media arm of Adani Enterprises acquired nearly 30 percent of NDTV shares through an indirect deal.
The Roys had resigned as directors of the board of NDTV promoter RRPR on November 29. Subsequently, Sudipta Bhattacharya, the chief technology officer of Adani Group; Sanjay Pugalia, senior journalist and CEO of Adani’s AMG Media Network; and journalist Senthil Sinniah Chengalvarayan took over as directors of the board. Last week, at the first NDTV town hall meeting after the Adani takeover, the network’s new leadership had addressed questions by the channel’s staff on editorial freedom, salaries, expansion, and BJP spokespersons on shows.
It was Suparna Singh who had invited employees to the meeting while acknowledging that she was aware that there were several questions and the management will try to share information that help the staff move into a new phase as a team. She had introduced Sanjay Pugalia, Sinniah Chengalvarayan, and others from the management. An employee had said that a lot of people had chosen to stay with NDTV not because of the money but because of the kind of journalism that is practiced at the channel. Pugalia denied that this could change, saying that the raw material of NDTV as a product is its credibility.
In December, after his first media interaction after the takeover, Adani had told India Today that “NDTV will be a credible, independent, global network with a clear lakshman rekha between management and editorial”. Since the announcement of the Adani group’s acquisition of NDTV stakes in August last year, the broadcast company’s share prices started soaring, enabling several top executives from the company to make a tidy profit. On September 1, Suparna Singh sold all her 53,726 shares for about Rs 2.6 crore, when the company’s shares were trading at Rs 490.60 on the Bombay Stock Exchange and Rs 495.05 on the National Stock Exchange.Meanwhile, New Delhi Television Ltd said on Friday that some more of its senior executives, including President Suparna Singh, had resigned, a move that comes less than a month after the Adani Group took control of about 65% of the Indian broadcaster.
NDTV’s chief strategy officer, Arijit Chatterjee, and chief technology and product officer, Kawaljit Singh Bedi, also quit, resignations that come after founders Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy left the company’s board in December.That was also when the Roys sold most of their stake in NDTV to the Adani Group, giving the billionaire Gautam Adani-led conglomerates control of the broadcaster four months after it launched a takeover attempt. NDTV made several failed attempts to block the takeover, citing regulatory restrictions on moving shares. The ports-to-energy conglomerate’s takeover had stoked fears over the freedom of the press among some journalists and led to Ravish Kumar, a senior executive editor at NDTV, resigning soon after Adani acquired its stake.
(Bureau Report with Media Inputs).

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