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