Update: It’s official. Network18 has announced to the BSE that Saikumar has left the company. According to the press release, Sai was with the Network18 group for 14 years, starting in sales. He was involved with the setting up of Indiacast, in partnership with Viacom, and was on the board of the groups joint ventures.
There’s no indication of why Sai quit or what his future plans are. We’ll update when we hear more.
Earlier today: MediaNama has heard from multiple reliable sources that B. Saikumar, Group CEO of Network18, has quit the company. At the time of filing this report, Saikumar was unavailable for comment, and hasn’t yet responded to calls or an SMS query from MediaNama. Sources within Network18 have also confirmed that Saikumar has left.
His departure comes within a period of consolidation at Network18, which had laid off a significant number of people starting August last year (at TV18 and Web18). Other CEO’s that have left the group recently include Dilip Venkatraman, CEO of CNN-IBN and IBN7, had also left the Network18 group, who quit after an eight year stint with the company, and Rajan Srinivasan, who was CEO of IBNLive. Newer business heads are taking over: Avinash Kaul took over as CEO of IBN Network, and Durga Raghunath has taken over as Web18 CEO from Lakshmi Narasimhan, who has been moved to a group role.
Saikumar had been appointed CEO of the Network18 Group, taking over from Haresh Chawla, in November 2011. He was previously the Group COO, the publisher of Forbes India. Prior to joining the Network18 Group, he was with the Times of India Group, where he worked with Times Music, Times Retail and Times FM.
Network18 Media reported a loss of Rs 4.1 crore for the quarter ended 31 March because of higher tax payments. The company posted a profit of Rs 50 lakh for the same period a year ago. Revenue for the fourth quarter rose 8.7% to Rs.738.3 crore from Rs.679.5 crore.For the fiscal, Network18 significantly narrowed its loss to Rs.36.8 crore from Rs.105.5 crore primarily because of lower interest costs. Operating profit for the company stood at Rs.87.2 crore for the fiscal year compared to a operating loss of Rs.39.3 crore in the previous year. Network18’s total revenue for FY2014 increased by 12% to Rs.2,692.4 crore.