In a key development, Network18 has elevated B Sai Kumar to be the CEO of the Group. Sai Kumar, who joined Network18 soon after the inception of the company and has spent almost 12 years with it now, was the Group COO of the company & Publisher, Forbes India. He is taking over from the current Group CEO, Haresh Chawla.
In an internal mail, Haresh Chawla, outgoing Group CEO Network18 & CEO-Viacom18 said, “I am delighted to inform you that Sai is being promoted to Group CEO of Network18. This is part of the leadership succession plan that Raghav (Bahl) and I have been working on over the last few months.”
Sai Kumar will shortly be joining the Boards of Viacom18 and HomeShop18. The current CEOs and Management Teams of Viacom18 and HomeShop18 will continue to report to their respective Boards.
In his new role, Sai Kumar will be responsible for the strategic and operational management of the Network18 Group. He would have direct responsibility of the Group’s News, Web, Publishing, Factual Entertainment and allied businesses which would include the IBN General News Network, CNBC TV18/ Awaaz Business News Network, Web18, Yellow Pages, Forbes India, AETN18 and the niche magazine stable among others.
Raghav Bahl, Founder and Editor of Network18, is expected to step up engagement with the Management Teams of Viacom18 and HomeShop18 and Sai Kumar will be working closely with him on both of these businesses.
Earlier, as Group COO, Sai Kumar was responsible for leading management teams across Group companies apart from being a core member of Network18’s Business Strategy Team. He has been responsible for providing operational leadership and enabling stellar organic growth across the Group’s market leading brands. He has also played an integral role in the various inorganic forays of the Group across businesses.
Speaking on this development, Founder & Editor, Network18 Raghav Bahl, said, “Haresh has led Network18 with extraordinary distinction in the first phase of our growth and identity. Now, as we gear up for our most ambitious phase yet, I am convinced that Sai (or “B Sai Kumar” as the world knows him, formally) has the inclusive skills and mature leadership that are needed to get us there - he has our best wishes and our wholehearted support.”
On this announcement, current Group CEO, Haresh Chawla, said, “I am absolutely delighted to handover the mantle to Sai, who has worked very closely with me for over a decade, as we built the Network18 franchise. He has seen the Network grow from its very early days across various businesses, which has given him a width of experience that is tough to find in the media business. He is an accomplished leader and a true people's person and I have no doubt that he'll take the legacy forward to even greater heights. I will always be available to him as a friend and mentor and wish him success.”
Sai Kumar added “It’s an honour to lead this world-beating team at Network18. The next phase of growth promises to be exciting and I look forward to it. Building upon the inspiring legacy left behind by Haresh, we have some very ambitious dreams for the future and we intend to see each one of them fulfilled.”
Sai Kumar will be reporting into Founder and Editor, Raghav Bahl in this new capacity. Prior to joining the Network18 Group in 2000, he was with the Times of India Group, where he worked with Times Music and Times FM.