RDS Bawa Network18

Heads are rolling at Network18: Following the departure of Network18 group CEO B Saikumar and Network18 group COO Ajay Chacko yesterday, the company CFO RDS Bawa has also resigned, Network18 has informed BSE.

Bawa was with the group for 19 years and over the years, he has been responsible for the group’s financial efforts in the creation and management of its various businesses. Prior to Network18, he worked at BHEL, Trackparts of India Limited, Weston Components Limited and Bestavision Electronics Limited.

There is speculation that Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor in Chief of CNN-IBN is on his way out too. A Mint report also suggests a possible exit of founder and chairman Raghav Bahl. The rumor mill is buzzing, with many both within and outside the group suggesting that this is only the beginning of change. Speculation is also rife about the change is being driven by Reliance Industries, which has an indirect stake in the company through Independent Media Trust (IMT), controlled by the Network18 promoter group. Do read the Competition Commission report on the acquisition, dated 28th May 2012 (pdf).

Remember that there was a significant clear-out of staff at Network18 last year, with around 30% of its employees asked to leave. Probably not connected, but one source couldn’t help but notice that Saikumar and Chacko have left almost a year to the date that the Forbes founding editorial team was unceremoniously asked to leave.

Given the circumstances, it’s worth noting that Reliance Industries has recently hired a few senior media industry executives, both in Editorial and Business.

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