With Reliance Industries Limited announcing its formal take over of the Network 18 group and its properties, the stage is now set for a leadership change at the media network.
While Avinash Kaul former CEO-TV Division of Bennet Coleman & Co. Ltd managing Times Now, ET Now and ZOOM, has been appointed CEO at IBN 18 Network, B. Sai Kumar resigned as CEO, IBN 18 Network on Wednesday and Ajay Chacko, COO of Network 18 resigned on Thursday.
Sources at the network indicate that Ritu Kapur, Features Editor at Network 18, and wife of Raghav Behl resigned Wednesday evening, while Behl himself resigned Thursday morning.
Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor in Chief of IBN 18 Network is also expected to leave shortly. He is said to be proceeding on leave at first and will put in his papers around a month later, if the new management does not require his services.
Some sources say that Sardesai will be meeting the head of Reliance, Mukesh Ambani, on Friday, while other sources say he has already submitted his resignation.
It is not clear exactly what steps Sardesai’s wife and Deputy Editor at CNN IBN Sagarika Ghose is likely to take, but sources at the network expect her to leave as well.
It appears that the original team behind CNN IBN and TV18, Network 18‘s predecessor, will be eclipsed by the editorial team appointed by the new management.
Delhi Durbar understands that some of the senior team are not only making attempts to ensure they retain their positions, but also making moves to try and move up the food chain on the first floor of Express Towers in Noida’s Film City.
Interestingly, part of these moves appear to have begun months ago, with some senior editorial staff purportedly leaking email exchanges between Raghav Behl and Rajdeep Sardesai in which Behl allegedly demanded that Sardesai’s wife Sagarika refute charges raised in a tweet by a prominent commentator which, according to the emails, he said referred to him and that Ghose had given rise to them.
In the last email in the series, Behl allegedly apologizes to Sardesai, explaining that he was in no mood to take his calls.
The veracity of the email trail can not be confirmed at this time, but Delhi Durbar has no reason to believe the exchange is false.
Staffers at CNN IBN have already been looking for new positions. Suhasini Haidar is expected to join The Hindu, while at least one other staffer is being talked about for a position at The Times of India.
Delhi Durbar had reported many months back about the impending leadership changes at Network 18, and Wednesday, broke the news of Sardesai’s departure on Twitter.