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MTV chiefs axed in Singapore

MTV Networks opts for another big operational revamp with MTV India and MTV Japan, reports Gurbir Singh.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2007, 18:46 IST
Gurbir Singh
Gurbir Singh

Barely four months after a major pan-Asia restructuring, MTV Networks has opted for another big operational revamp with MTV India and MTV Japan now reporting to its international headquarters in London. The restructuring comes with another major staff cutback, soon after the broadcasting network shed 84 persons at its Singapore office in October last.

 Churn in STAR too?

 STAR seems to be witnessing a middle-level churn with several key functionaries putting in their papers. These include: Anurag Beri, Senior Manager - Sales, who has joined Zee Entertainment as deputy VP, Sheena Bali, Head of Sales - West, and Prasanth Shetty of Channel [V], who has moved to Reliance Radio.

STAR spokesperson Yashpal Khanna said these departures were part of normal attrition a media company faces, and had nothing to do with the resignations of the two CEOs - Peter Mukerjea and Sameer Nair. He also strenuously denied market speculation that as many as 22 senior and mid-level executives mostly from creative and programming had quit STAR. "No resignations have been received," Khanna said.

"I am still here. I have not quit as yet," said Deepak Saigal, head of Fox Productions, STAR's new JV.

An MTV spokesperson confirmed that the Singapore-based Stephen Tan, COO and officiating head of MTV's Asia operations, had quit but was continuing till alternative arrangements were made. The network's chief financial officer (CFO) Mark Glazier has also put in his papers, the spokesperson confirmed. After MTV's former president Nigel Robbins abruptly quit last October, Stephen Tan has been heading the company's Asia operations.

Amit Jain, MD of MTV Networks India, confirmed he was reporting to London. This marks MTV jettisoning its 4-month old 'regional' strategy it adopted after dismantling its large Asian HQ at Singapore. The strategy included decentralising corporate roles and shifted "the focus of resources to empower local operations."

Justifying the new changes, a spokesperson said India was a prominent market in MTV's operations, and it was found necessary to bring it directly under the company's international headquarters in London. Operations in other Asian markets, with the exception of Japan, would be guided from Singapore, he added.

There is no clarity on numbers in the current round of staff cutbacks. The replacements for the COO Stephen Tan and CFO Mark Glazier are yet to be found.

After the last round of retrenchment, Singapore was left with a corporate core of just 18 personnel. Contracts that ended were also not renewed.

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