Rahul Joshi, editorial director of the country’s largest business daily The Economic Times (ET), has quit Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL), the media house that runs Times Group, and is joining Reliance Industries-controlled Network18 Media & Investments Ltd as CEO, News and group editor-in-chief.
While there is no word from Times Group about Joshi’s resignation, Network18 Media informed stock exchanges on Thursday about his appointment confirming the development first reported by VCCircle on Wednesday night.
The company did not say by when Joshi would take charge. A mail sent to Reliance Industries’ spokesperson did not immediately elicit a response.
Previously, when contacted late on Wednesday evening, Joshi declined to comment about his resignation from BCCL. “I am not really allowed to speak to press. You will have to ask my employer,” Joshi told VCCircle.
An email sent to Raj Jain, chief executive officer of BCCL, the parent company of Times Group that publishes ET among other media properties, did not elicit any response.
Joshi, who was initially handling Brand Equity, a weekly supplement on marketing and advertisement with ET, first became resident editor of the newspaper’s Delhi edition in 2004, as part of a major shake-up at the top two news publications of the group.
Jaideep Bose, then the executive editor of ET, moved to become editor of The Times of India (TOI), the largest circulated English language daily in the country. Joshi took the role of resident editor of ET in Delhi from Arindam Sengupta, who also moved to TOI. Soon thereafter, Joshi replaced Rajrishi Singhal, as new executive editor of ET.
He was later redesignated as editorial director of ET. The group had roped in Rohit Saran from financial magazine Business Today as an executive director in 2010, who was seen as an eventual successor to Joshi. However, Saran quit the firm within two years.
Joshi was in the interim also overseeing Times Group’s business news channel ET Now. Recently, Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the group’s general English language news channel Times Now, was made editorial head of ET Now too as first reported by VCCircle on May 8.
Sources said Bodhisatva Ganguly, current deputy executive editor at the business daily, is likely to become the interim editorial in charge till a replacement is found. There are also talks of Saran, who is currently with Dubai-based Khaleej Times, returning to take back the reins at ET.
Emails and calls to Saran went unanswered.
With Joshi taking over as CEO, News, he would be helming Network18’s news television channels CNN IBN and CNBC TV18 besides other media properties such as First Post, and Forbes (India edition).
Network18, a public listed holding company for various television and digital media properties, also runs entertainment channels like Colors and MTV in India besides a movie production unit among several other media properties. It also has digital commerce ventures BookMyShow and HomeShop18.
The company had appointed former Radio Mirchi (another Times Group property) CEO A P Parigi, as Group CEO in January, a role left vacant when B Sai Kumar quit as group CEO of the firm in May 2014.
Kumar’s departure was a pre-cursor to a large scale change at Network18 where the ownership of the company changed hands with Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries picking majority stake in diversified media and entertainment group in the biggest deal in the Indian media sector.
This marked the culmination of the multi-tier deal originally struck three years ago, where, in the first leg, the group had bankrolled Network18 promoters to buy Eenadu with convertible debt.
With Joshi taking over as the overall in-charge of news, Parigi would continue to be the administrative head of the media house. It is not yet clear if Joshi will report to Parigi or to the board of the company.