PALINI R. SWAMY writes from Bangalore: The Times of India group has zeroed in on the man who will handle its latest acquisitions—Vijaya Karnataka, Vijay Times and Usha Kirana—on the management side.
It's going to be Chinnen Das, currently a director on the board of the group's holding company Bennett, Coleman & Co. He will be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the new subsidiary that BCCL is likely to create to hand-hold VK and VT for the first few years.
However, the media website exchange4media.com is reporting that Das will be president of Vijayanand Printers Limited (VPL), the Vijay Sankeshwar company that publishes all three papers.
Chinnen Das is believed to have played a key role in the group's purchase of the Vijaya Karnataka group.
Das, a former brand manager of the group in the South, has been with the Times group since 1977. He is the brother of Monu Nalapat, former editor of the Bangalore edition of The Times of India, and Jaysuriya Das, the man who opened the ToI edition in Poona.
All three are children of the poet Kamala Soraiyya nee Das, and all three got a foothold in the Times of India when the group's bid to storm the Malayalam citadel by acquiring the Nalapat family stake in Mathrubhoomi fell through due to strong opposition from locals.
Monu Nalapat left ToI a few years ago and is now a part-time academic based in Delhi; Jayasuriya recently left the group to start his own consultancy called Xanadu consulting.
Meanwhile, the buzz in Hyderabad is that after the Vijay Karnataka deal is done next week, the Times group may start hunting for a stake in the Telugu media, and first on the list is the struggling Andhra Jyothi. Chinnen Das is likely to be in charge of that operation too.