The suspense is finally over. Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief, CNN-IBN and IBN7, has been voted the Impact Person of the Year 2006 at a glittering ceremony in Mumbai on February 8. The poll was conducted by TNS India, for Impact, the advertising, media and marketing weekly from the exchange4media group.
Sardesai was a key part of the team that successfully entrenched CNN-IBN in the English news channel space, and the group, GBN, also took over Hindi news channel Channel7, now re-christened IBN7.
Accepting the Award, Sardesai said, “I was aghast when I saw my name amongst such a list of icons who have been in the industry for such a long time. I must say it’s a humbling experience to be in the same bracket as these luminaries. In media, there is always a team supporting you. And, I have been very fortunate to bring on such a wonderful team to the platform for GBN. The team’s passion and energy has brought us this recognition.”
He further said, “I keep learning new things by being where I am. I must also state here that I don’t know why we must see each other as rivals. Yes, we all are competitors, but we can work together as one big media family.”
“I think we are very clear in that we wanted to be the most influential and most impactful news broadcaster in the country. This is just Stage One of the process and we still have a long way to go,” Sardesai had said a day before being declared the Impact Person of Year. For Sardesai, the timing couldn’t have been better, coming as it does a day before his son’s birthday.
His journey from the days of drawing a princely four-digit sum at The Times of India’s offices, to where he is today, reflects a climb that has been steady yet laden with risks that only a dreamer can pursue.
The Impact person of the Year is an award property into its second year now, and last year’s winner was Peter Mukerjea, then CEO, STAR India. The poll is conducted through a three-stage robust process, and the methodology involves open voting. Votes are invited from a qualified random sample of senior professionals from advertising, media and marketing.
C Y Pal, President, Franchising Association of India and Non-Executive Chairman, Cadbury India Ltd, said, “I am delighted that we are celebrating the success of young people who are the driving force of the economy. Among all the categories like telecom, IT, etc, it is media that is playing an important role of creating an impact of the issues facing us today. I am pretty happy with the exchange4media Group for doing this to salute excellence in this domain as well as the unique method of selecting the winners.”
Commenting on the award property, Anurag Batra, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, exchange4media Group, said, “Rajdeep has showed that serious journalism wins and that’s what a news product is made of. You can create history in a short time. You have to dream. People and their teams, and their ability to lead their teams, and work as a key member of the leadership team, are the things that matter. Several of the nominees were custodians of challenger brands, and that made them even more endearing, even more inspirational for the rest of us.”
The nominees for the Impact Person of the Year 2006, were (in alphabetical order): Ashutosh Srivastava, CEO, Asia Pacific, MindShare; Balakrishnan R, Executive Creative Director, Lowe India; Colvyn Harris, CEO, JWT India; Girish Agrawal, Director – Marketing, Bhaskar Group; Kalanithi Maran, CMD, Sun Network; A P Parigi, CEO, ENIL; Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and National Creative Director, India and South Asia, O&M; Raghav Bahl, Managing Director, Television Eighteen Ltd; Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief, CNN-IBN and IBN7; Sandeep Goyal, Chairman, Dentsu India; Sanjeev Bikhchandani, CEO, Naukri.com; Shobhana Bhartia, Vice-Chairperson and Editorial Director of HT Media Ltd; Srinivasan K Swamy, CEO, RK Swamy/BBDO Ltd.; Subhash Chandra, Chairman, Zee Telefilms and Promoter, ESSEL Group; Venkatram Reddy T, Chairman, Deccan Chronicle Holdings; and Vineet Jain, MD, BCCL. Industry practitioners have chosen the list of nominees, and the winner too was chosen by them.