Who next after Ashish Bagga? And where’s he going?

01 Aug,2017


By A Correspondent


A few hours after close of trading hours on Monday, the publicly listed TV Today Network informed the two stock exchanges that its CEO Ashish Kumar Bagga had resigned. With effect from July. For personal reasons.


Bagga, one of the senior most and longest-running CEOs amongst the bigger players in the Indian media business (other than the owners of course), has been Group CEO of the India Today group, a position that he gained a few years back, after G Krishnan moved on from TV Today.  According to information received, all those who directly report to him will now report to Group Editorial Director (Broadcast & New Media) and Group CFO Dinesh Bhatia.


Bagga, who did his MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management Pune and is a British Chevening Scholarship scholar at the Manchester Business School, started out with the group soon after in 1983.He has been actively associated with and spearheaded all of the group’s media offerings ever since though he did exit the group for a bit to join a Business Standard-Financial Times venture.


Having cut his teeth with Madhu Trehan’s Newstrack in the 1980s, started his career with the India Today Group in 1983 and before re-joining the India Today Group in 2001, Bagga briefly served as President & CEO with Business Standard’s e-initiative, in association with Financial Times, London.


Although the digital play of the group has been found wanting, Bagga has spearheaded the ship with fair passion and virtually been the face of the India Today group at most industry associations and pressure groups.


He is currently President of the News Broadcasters Association (which he occupied after Ashok Venkatramani relinquished after he quit ABP News). He was also President of the Indian Newspaper Society and earlier President of the Association of Indian Magazines. Interesting his work helming both the NBA and INS required taking some tough decisions – like advising NBA members to withdraw the watermarking when they felt aggrieved and also rallying INS members together when they were upset about the Indian Readership Survey.


According to a mail that is said to have been sent to all employees, founder, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief AroonPurie has written on Bagga: “I have always appreciated his sage counsel and his ‘can do’ attitude. His contribution to the group has been significant. Not least for the excellent team of effective leaders he has mentored who I am sure will carry us in our journey forward.” Do note that we do not have confirmation whether this mail has indeed been sent from Purie’s office.


While there were rumours on Bagga’s exit for a few weeks, now that it has been announced, one will wait to see if his position will find a new suitor and what he does next. Will KalliPurie take charge of business operations, or will the Kumar Mangalam Birla investment of 41-odd percent get the group to appoint a CEO from the outsideor have one of their own in the job. There have also been strong rumours on RP-Sanjiv Goenka group picking up a sizeable stake.


In May 2015, he had said in an interview published in MxM that contextual mobile commerce is the future and he had some ideas he would like to implement there. A lot has changed in that arena since then, but what’s certain is that Bagga has some surefire plans up his sleeves. In the same interview, when he was asked about his dream job, he had said: Being the world’s top media honcho.


Watch this space for more.


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