Why is media seeing so many resignations?

While many of the resignations came from executives who moved on to greener pastures, a lot of them also decided to move on to go the entrepreneurial way

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Jul 11, 2019 9:24 AM

Human resource teams at media houses have been very busy this year accepting and processing resignations. Given the recent movements of senior-level executives across media houses, a fair shuffle is in order. Both management and editorial teams have seen resignations coming in from top executives.

While many of these resignations came from executives who moved on to greener pastures, a lot of them also decided to move on to go the entrepreneurial way. 

There are few who also left the industry for good. Debabrata Mukherjee, for example, stepped down from the position of Executive Director at HT Media mid-February. Mukherjee, who came to HT from Coca-Cola India where he was the Vice President, South West Asia Operations, joined United Breweries as Chief Marketing Officer. This was followed by another senior level executive moving on from HT. Towards the end of FY19, Ashu Phakey, Chief Operating Officer at HT Media, stepped down from his role after a stint of 5 years and 11 months. Phakey also joined a FMCG major. 

Another big resignation in the industry was Gayatri Yadav’s. She quit as Star India’s President of Consumer Strategy & Innovation. Yadav it is said has plans to go the entrepreneurial way.

Then came the big news of Ashok Venkatramani resigning as Managing Director of Zee Media Corporation Limited. As per reports, a regulatory filing by Zee Media stated that "Ashok Venkatramani has decided to pursue interests outside the company and has accordingly resigned as Managing Director of the company with effect from close of business on July 9, 2019."

Raj Nayak quitting as the Chief Operating Officer of Viacom18 was another major announcement in the media world. With a career spanning over 25 years, Nayak had turned around the fortunes of several media companies in the television industry. Network 18 also saw Joy Chakraborty, CEO of Forbes India and President revenue quit the group towards the end of 2018. 

Pradeep Dwivedi also put in his papers as the CEO of Sakal. According to reports, he is expected to focus on broadcast and investment business.

So, what is driving senior-level executives away from media? Perhaps, better opportunities outside of it. 

“Like any other industry in the present time, media also is facing a financial crunch situation. There are resignations, organisations are being downsised and there are media outfits that are closing down all together. This has motivated a lot of senior-level executives to go the entrepreneurial way,” said Alok Mehta, who has spent 40 years in journalism working in various senior positions across media houses such as The Times of India, Hindustan Times and Outlook.

In the list of people who resigned this year is also Supriya Shrinate, who moved on from her role of Executive Editor with ET Now to join politics. She joined Congress and contested Lok Sabha elections from Maharajganj in Uttar Pradesh. 

Amit Chopra too stepped down from the role of President and Head – Ad Sales at Star India to join Samara Capital. He was responsible for the advertising revenues for entertainment, digital and sports.

Then came movements among media houses. Mehraj Dube moved on from his position of VP, Marketing of Zee Media Corporation, to join ABP News as Head of Marketing. 

According to industry experts, opening up of new opportunities also lead to industry movements. “2019 opened up a lot of opportunities in digital. Digital media has never been on a better hiring spree than now. For instance, Monika Shergill moved from Viacom18 Digital Ventures, where she was Head of Content for OTT service Voot, to join Netflix India as Head, Series, International Originals. On the other hand, Viacom18 roped in Shaadi.com CEO Gourav Rakshit as Head of its video-on-demand service Voot,” said an industry insider.

Talking of inter industry and internal movements, a highly placed source in Network 18 said the group saw more movements within network. “Network 18 revamped the structure completely dividing the group in three major clusters-- English and Business News Cluster, Hindi Cluster and Languages Cluster. This saw three key appointments, with Basant Dhawan joining in as CEO of the English and Business Cluster, Mayank Jain coming in as CEO of Hindi Cluster and Karan Abhishek Singh taking charge as the CEO of Languages Cluster,” said the source. 

Further, mid-March saw Sonia Kapoor quitting the Network 18 group. She was the Business Head & Executive Vice President at TV 18 Broadcast India Ltd, Branded Content and Special Projects.

Much recently, there were a host of other resignations. Nilanjana Bhaduri Jha, Chief Content Officer at HT Digital Streams, stepped down from her position. Jha has started a media firm named Opoyi. Then Fortune India’s Dibyendra Nath Mukerjea (popularly known as Bonny Mukerjea within the industry) decided to move on from ABP Group. Mukerjea quit the group as the President Digital, ABP Pvt Ltd and Founding Editor, Fortune India, and told excgange4media that he was looking forward to a break.

Zulfia Waris, Discovery India’s Vice President - Premium and Digital networks, also stepped down from her position.

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