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I misjudged Uday Shankar at Aaj Tak: Aroon Purie

08-December-2014
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I misjudged Uday Shankar at Aaj Tak: Aroon Purie

While congratulating Star India CEO Uday Shankar for winning the IMPACT Person of the Decade award, Aroon Purie, Chairman, India Today Group candidly admitted that he had “misjudged” Shankar’s potential for corporate leadership during his stint with Aaj Tak, the Hindi news channel run by the Group.

Recalling his association with Shankar at Aaj Tak a few years ago, Purie told exchange4media, “I think I am a pretty good judge of people...I have been working in the media industry for the last 40 years... but the one person I misjudged was Uday Shankar. I met him when he was working with us on a Doordarshan election programme, he was a producer for Karan Thapar... I found him to be a person who is passionate about journalism and passionate about news. Later on, he joined Aaj Tak as executive producer, and we launched the 24 hour news channel. He was from JNU, I wouldn’t say he was a leftist, but he had kind of imbibed some of the leftist ideology, and I thought he was the last person to be a big corporate leader in India because he was not really a corporate person. He was the kind of person who was a free spirit, who said I never hold a job for more than three years in any particular place, kind of a moving person who likes to do different things at different times...

“In fact, I found that he was a great journalist but he needed some training in administration as he never had it, so I sent him to the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad for a three week course on administration. Obviously, he learnt a lot, because he has ended up where he is, and I am absolutely delighted that he has succeeded…

“I admit my mistake in not seeing his great corporate leadership qualities. He is a good thinker...obviously a great leader... I would never imagine that he would produce great TV soaps because he is such a hardcore journalist, but I am delighted that he is getting this award. He has made a great impact on the industry, I am sure that his leadership at Star and in the industry will have a great impact in the years to come.”

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