Top Zee shareholders seek Goenka’s ouster
- In a letter, Invesco has also sought the removal of two other directors, Manish Chokhani and Ashok Kurien
Invesco Developing Markets Fund and OFI Global China Fund Llc, which own a combined 17.88% of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), have called a special shareholders’ meeting of the media company to remove Punit Goenka as director.
Goenka, the son of Essel Group founder and chairman Subhash Chandra, is managing director and chief executive officer of ZEEL. In a letter to the board of ZEEL, Invesco has also sought the removal of two other directors Manish Chokhani and Ashok Kurien. Kurien partnered with Subhash Chandra to set up Zee, while Chokhani is director of investment firm Enam Holdings.
The letter also proposed the appointment of six independent directors, including Surendra Singh Sirohi, Naina Krishna Murthy, Rohan Dhamija, Aruna Sharma, Srinivasa Rao Addepalli and Gaurav Mehta.
While Surendra Singh Sirohi is a board member of HFCL Ltd, Naina Krishna Murthy is the founder and managing partner of law firm K Law. Dhamija is a managing partner, the Middle East and South Asia at Analysys Mason, and Sharma is a former IAS officer who retired as steel secretary to the government of India and is on the boards of Jindal Steel and Power and Welspun Enterprises, among others. Addepalli is the founder of Global Gyan and former chief strategy officer at Tata Communications. Mehta is an investment banker and India head of Raine.
Chokhani and Kurien have, however, submitted their resignations before the extraordinary general meeting (EGM). In a stock exchange filing on September 13, Zee said that the two have resigned as non-executive non-independent directors.
Chokhani, the company said, has resigned due to “changed life circumstances and perspectives post Covid”, while the reason cited for Kurien was his “preoccupation.” Both tenures ended as of September 13.
Subhash Chandra entered the infrastructure business and took massive loans with his family’s shares in Zee Entertainment as collateral.