‘The Times’ begins tomorrow for VK, UK, VT

The Times of India group's takeover of the Vijaya Karnataka group will take its second formal step tomorrow when Chinnen Das, TOI's newly appointed CEO for Vijayanand Printers Limited, walks into the offices of the three papers in Chamarajpet at 11 am.

Das, who is largely a stranger to the staffers of the three papers although he has spent the better part of the last 15 years in Bangalore, will be introduced to the top editors and managers of Vijaya Karnataka, Vijay Times and Usha Kirana at tomorrow's meeting.

Both VK and UK have their editors in place (Vishweshwar Bhat and Venkata Narayana) and Das is expected to zero in on the name of the new editor of Vijay Times in the next few hours, if he hasn't already. However, it is unclear if the new editor of VT will be part of tomorrow's summit meeting.

It is also unclear if the foot soliders of the three papers—the reporters, the sub-editors, the photographers and artists—will be introduced to the new CEO tomorrow.

Das, as already reported by churumuri, has already had his briefing of the VPL power and editorial matrix from an old VPL source.

Anand Sankeshwar, the son of Vijay Sankeshwar, who is expected to remain as a permanent director on the recast VPL board, is believed to have met him yesterday in the run-up to tomorrow's meeting.

Three new vice-presidents are expected to be announced by Das in the coming few days to head the marketing, circulation and administration side of TOI's latest acquisition albeit with different nomenclatures as is the Times norm.

Das, who is a director on the board of Bennett, Coleman & Co besides being the brand manager for the Times Group in the South, is expected to divide his time between M.G. Road and Chamarajpet in the initial few months.

The hunt for an editor for VT is indication that TOI intends to retain the paper (at least for the present) to fight sundry battles in Bangalore and to retain its hold in the English market in the rest of the State, where VT is, at least on paper, No. 1 in 24 of the 26 districts.

However, Times insiders say Das is less certain of Usha Kirana's future. Having failed in all its primary objectives, Das is reportedly in a dilemma on whether to retain UK, change its format into, say, a weekly newspaper, or to kill it.

Moreover, Das who was initially reluctant to accept the VPL posting, is reportedly not so keen to be saddled with a losing proposition from day one at VPL, although the true test and challenge of a good manager in many people's books may be to turn around a losing proposition.