After a long-drawn stand-off between the family members of Kasturi and Sons Ltd, publishing company of The Hindu, N Ram has stated his decision to step down as Editor-in-Chief and publisher of The Hindu newspaper and other group publications – Business Line, Frontline, and Sportstar – with effect from January 19, 2012.
Ram will, however, continue as whole time Director of Kasturi and Sons Ltd.
Meanwhile, Arun Anant is slated to join The Hindu as CEO. The group has been on the lookout for a CEO for a while now. Anant has worked in the capacity of Vice President at The Economic Times and then with UTVi (Bloomberg UTV) as CEO. He set up his own management consulting firm, IncValue, in 2009.
In a communiqué to the Board of Directors, dated January 9, 2012, Ram stated that Siddharth Varadarajan, Editor of The Hindu, D Sampathkumar, Editor of Business Line, R Vijayasankar, Editor of Frontline, and Nirmal Shekar, Editor of Sportstar, would now have extended editorial responsibilities.
K Balaji, Managing Director, Kasturi and Sons Ltd, will oversee the publishing and printing functions for all publications of the company till a CEO has been appointed. All these changes are expected to come into effect from January 19.
It may be recalled that in July 2011, the family feud saw three of the editors tender their resignations – N Ravi as Editor of The Hindu, Malini Parthasarathy as Executive Editor, and Nirmala Lakshman as Joint Editor.
N Murali wrote a lengthy mail to employees on his retirement in August about his reservations on the goings on in the company. Differences in the family arose on the Board’s appointment of Siddharth Varadarajan as Editor of The Hindu, the first non-family member to hold a key position in the company. This decision further fueled the battle for succession that had began with Ram going back on an agreement between him and Murali to step down from his post on turning 65 (in May 2011), culminating in a host of legal battles.
With Ram’s decision to entrust the post and subsequent editorial responsibilities to Varadarajan, the family members will continue as Directors of the company.