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Preserving for the future A proud Madrasi A professional at the helm of IRDA... The rise and rise of KCP Paytm karo... How Air-India loses customs... Marketing expert Balagopal is no more This scant respect for Law Tatas moving out of urea production... There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel Boy, can you beat these? New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Noble nonagenarians... More heat than light When small is no larger beautiful.. B H Kothari - a tribute …and of a popular trade leader The balancing act Funding the un-funded Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... Editor's Says Lalu’s envy, India’s pride A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science Why this malaise in medical education? Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health TIAM turns a full cycle The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more Why land prices zoom in TN? Medical costs hit the roof... Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu Music happens Modi storms Silicon Valley Gay abandon in pricing Solar thermal shines… TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Tribute – M V Murugappan Wanted: a second airport for Chennai When online building permits work…. SoA @ 80 Should we change the official year? Tax agriculture Poor quality of university VCs Russi Mody – a tribute He continues the focus on social amelioration Maximising the micro pricing … Adharma of opposition politics Towards speedy justice A think tank for Chennai Five star activism stalls development activity L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Recognition to role of NBFCs.... Vibrant Gujarat The power-full Hindujas He saved millions from starvation... The star of Spencers is no more Fortune for Indian Airlines Return to king coal for urea... Airlines in India: cost and space Excel Generators provide the vital back-up London, London Narayan Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Cutting the nose to spite the face Secularism and anti-Hinduism Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked For whom the MIDS bell tolls? Strengthen the base... The nuclear option Solar, solar everywhere … A welcome initiative by the judiciary GM Technology at last! A rich pool of talent not utilised…. Telangana in top gear… Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Valli, they are more marginalised Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Engineering seats go abegging Multi-faceted Venkat The brown list of Venkitaramanan The Jan Dhan bonanza Alexa – Talking Wikipedia Quality education through the PPP mode S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal Kinetic Karnataka A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Shipping woes of Chennai companies Of course, Gujarat is vibrant More Shakthi to Das’ elbow PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals Delhi returns to BJP West Bengal: mindless malignancy Muffled voices for merit… EEC at the National Media Centre Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Mersal magnified Cement prices continue to rise… Delhi Chalo... An enemy’s enemy is a friend A friendly business group Haul over the coal Kudos to NDTV... Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai Plummeting profits of PSBs Auto components surge… Small units prefers to remain small... PC’s preference for professionals L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles GNS - 100: our first subscriber CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? EVM is tamper-proof When the President was rendered homeless… Align crops to agro climate endowments… Quality silica from Neyveli CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. The sea- saw battle continues... Protest masters... When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! A yen for wastage… Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna Come elections, come advertisements... Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet Contrarian cousins Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... The rise and fall of Annamalai University An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… More tributes to GR Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel Gas is the way forward Delhi is distant… IPL type auction for VCs? F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing Nuclear power at the nucleus Sweet news for TN sugar mills Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model The Gulf aviation boom Put expensive assets created to use... Where is Rajaji? Fortune 500 review Where a state respects its litterateurs… MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... Modi and the lady Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Mu Sigma – is no more Fuel for thought Roaring Ro-Ro facility A more liberated TN… TGS- The king storyteller Pharma – overdose of copying Discoms deserve better… No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Banning booze... S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu WTO Meet: resolved to meet again Waning interest in public discussions… TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Shanti and Sadhana through Music The few handicaps... Computation of GDP – conundrums continue TELANGANA at last…BUT Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! Parliament in paralysis... Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Revive development banks... Editor's Notes CII projects higher growth… Convulsions in The Hindu Delhi is distant Readers' Mail Streamlining mandatory third party cover Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS Tatas moving out of urea production... R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Rahman at CIC Building loyalty through the stomach Welcome focus on core competence Silver Years of Madras Musings Which side are you, Montek? Moily’s bold thrust Don’t seem to feel the pulse… Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ China invests in India to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines Kulandai was a giant More Shakti to resource mobilisation... TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership ONGC at KG Basin Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL An inexplicable neglect Sweeter prospects for sugar Permanent secretariat for TN GIM Another Indian music maestro at the UN Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW The why of tax incentives No engine for this car No Maha Koottani in TN... Remembering Indira Sivasailam... When nations steal growth from one another… Welcome GST Revving up the manufacturing sector Breaththrough in malaria control Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks Shale gas and its shallow future Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad The Swadeshi Trump Build close rapport with business leaders Demise of a media baron... Things happen by accident and not by design... Intellectual of rare qualities Tribute Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V Making ‘my Amaravati’... Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... Robber barons everywhere CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Polls and promises For whom the bell tolls? Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami IPL - no surprise this scam Road development slows down Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt IAS invades NDDB... A glass full of corruption Increasing non co-operation of state leaders When Ratan Tata visited SRM Make standards certification mandatory... Sri Lanka votes for change Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Tough task taking states together Tribute – UCAL Selvan… Wise Presidents
 
Convulsions in The Hindu

The Hindu family dissensions again hit the headlines. Malini Parthasarathy resigned as the Editor of the paper within days of the launch of the Mumbai edition made with a lot of fanfare. This was ahead of the change expected at the board meeting scheduled a couple of weeks later.

For over 130 years Kasturi & Sons, publishers of The Hindu had a smooth, comfortable and profitable run. Controlled by the family elders of the Kasturiranga Iyengar dynasty, the business dominated the media scene, especially in the south, with little competition. Several of the scions also excelled in accessing technology and management expertise. A generation ago with their interests limited to music, racing and travel, G Kasturi, along with his elder brother G Narasimhan were fully focussed on managing the paper. They helped the company switching rapidly to information and communication technology. In quick succession the paper introduced facsimile editions, electronic typesetting and sophisticated printing facilities, both in Chennai metro and at de-centralised printing outfits in several cities.

The near monopoly position enjoyed by the paper as the premier print medium in English in the south was challenged by other print houses, notably The Times of India. The Hindu tried to meet this by engaging in a price war and also changing many of its rigid stances in regard to advertisements and discounts. It adopted many of the profitable practices of TOI eg.cover jacket ads.

Simultaneously, the business house also experienced the fissures widely seen in the batons passing to the younger generation. In a first major coup, the leadership of G Kasturi was challenged by the combined strength of the children of Narasimhan, Parthasarathy and Rangarajan; his term was ended and N Ram assumed leadership with N Murali as the Managing Director and his other brother N Ravi as Editor with liberal positions for other cousins, 12- all directors of the board.

The next break came when Ram could not play ball and hand chairmanship to Murali and the latter moved out as the MD. Siddharth Varadarajan from outside the family was appointed Editor with a couple of senior executive positions going for recruits from outside, notably TOI. In this arrangement, all the executive positions held by the family members were stripped, entitling them only for the perks and fees as directors.

The next change came with family members demanding executive positions back. The re-grouping of the directors rendered Ram’s position weak. Varadarajan and the COO were shunted out and Malini Parthasarathy took charge as editor.   McKinsey that earlier suggested major structural reforms, including launching a Tamil edition, also provided one of its senior partners, Rajeev Lochan to take charge as Managing Director. For the first time a couple of non-executive directors from outside the family –

S Mahalingam (formerly TCS) and Vinita Bali (Britannia) joined the board.

Malini’s term was not smooth. The new editor had her own predilections and prejudices. Several journalists finding her style of leadership not agreeable quit under VRS. There was also the rumbling over a huge expenditure incurred on the Mumbai edition promoted by her. At the home base, the print publication of Sportstar stopped and the Tamil edition continues to struggle to meet competition from the well-established Daily Thanthi and Dinamalar.

    In the recent re-groupings Malini’s groupwas in the minority. Ahead of the board meeting, she tendered her resignation. There was curiosity over the deliberations at the board meeting post-Malini’s resignation. The only thing that leaked: raising the price of a meal by over 200 per cent to Rs 10 a day (it was Rs 3 earlier). For decades, The Hindu canteen was considered the most attractive spot at Kasturi Buildings. Employees in the general shift liberally dropped in late hours to avail the cheap food. In the night shift of around 40, average attendance used to be a couple of hundreds! One wonders if The Hindu would be equal to criticising  the oil pricing jerks of the NDA II government. One may expect the Readers’ Editor, the paper’s gloriously-called Ombudsman, ponder over this in his Monday column.

Rajeev Lochan is bound to have more plans to cut costs and increase revenues. TOI and other media majors offer a lot to emulate. A five day week can be the next option.

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