On the eve of the launch of the highly publicised Kaun Banega Crorepati-3, Rupert Murdoch-promoted broadcasting network STAR has decided to formally accept the resignations of STAR Entertainment CEO Sameer Nair as well as STAR India CEO Peter Mukerjea.
Paul Aiello, the Hong Kong-based CEO of STAR, will officiate as acting CEO for STAR India, a company spokesperson said.
Sameer Nair's resignation will become effective on March 31, while Peter Mukerjea will formally quit the organisation at the end of January. Nair’s long notice period is to ensure the smooth running of the Shah Rukh Khan-hosted KBC show that kicks off on Monday and closes in April.
Both Nair and Mukerjea had put in their resignations at the end of December 2006. However, STAR decided to accept the notices only after marathon negotiations, in the last two days.
A high-level STAR team from Hong Kong, which included Paul Aiello, Chief Financial Officer John Lau, President (Platforms) David Butorac and head of HR Ian Moore, flew into Mumbai last Tuesday to sort out these and other succession issues.
Peter Mukerjea has taken up an assignment as chairman of a global search agency INX Services (first reported by HT last Saturday), and is believed to shortly be launching his own broadcasting network. Sameer Nair, on the other hand, is expected to take up an assignment with NDTV.
A week ago, STAR had announced the exit of Michelle Guthrie, STAR’s Hong Kong-based CEO, who has been replaced by former Morgan Stanley investment banker Paul Aiello.
Media pundits said the sudden and unceremonious exit of three important STAR CEOs has rattled the organisation and cast a shadow on what was presumed to be a stable and powerful broadcasting network in Asia.
Management differences in the NewsCorp company have been growing over the last year, over the failure of the Michelle Guthrie-led team to reach targeted advertising revenues.