There has been quite a lot of speculation for the past two months on the future of Chaitanya Kalbag, Editor-in-Chief, Hindustan Times. The word is finally out. As of Friday evening, July 20, 2007, Kalbag is not associated with the paper. It appears that after a meeting on Friday that Kalbag had with HT Media Vice-Chairperson Shobhna Bhartia and CEO Rajiv Verma, it was decided that Kalbag would step down. Kalbag had joined HT in September last year, moving in from Reuters Asia where he was Managing Editor.
CEO Verma could not be contacted for his official comments at the time of filing this report.
An old Reuters hand with wide international experience, Kalbag was brought in to take HT to the next level in terms of quality of content and editorial excellence. Kalbag brought in some changes in the paper and also inducted some senior editorial hands. Soon after joining HT last year, he brought in Rahul Sharma from Reuters Singapore as Resident Editor.
About a month ago, Pankaj Paul, a graphics and design expert based in the US, was brought in as Managing Editor of Hindustan Times. Paul had worked in American like The News Journal, The Palm Beach Post and The Philadelphia Daily News. He moved in from The News Journal at Wilmington, where he was Managing Editor for niche and new initiatives.
However, feathers began to be ruffled among the existing guard at HT, leading to a large number of resignations over the months at various levels including section heads. This exodus became a matter of concern, according to sources in the company. Some of the senior editorial hands who quit made no bones about the fact that they were “uncomfortable with Kalbag’s style of management”.
Kalbag on his own part maintains that he came in with the intention of making HT into a world class paper of international standards. Despite his best intentions, it appears that the script did not quite work out that way, leading to his departure in slightly less than a year.
Reuters Asia boss Chaitanya Kalbag to join Hindustan Times as Editor-in-Chief from Sept 1