Tuesday, October 22, 2013

And the sheep (employees) said baa baa

After the sweeping management changes at cHindu, the next day saw surprising news. The employees celebrated the management changes:

Members of the Union gathered at The Hindu’s main office, burst crackers and shouted slogans in support of the changes at the helm of the institution. They welcomed N. Ram and N. Murali, who took charge as Chairman and Co-Chairman of Kasturi and Sons Ltd., the Editor-in-Chief N. Ravi, Editor Malini Parthasarathy and Director Nirmala Lakshman.

Their rationale being

The ‘corporate governance’ that the institution was subject to recently brought out differences at various levels among the employees, and over time, would have brought disunity and disharmony.

Corporate governance bringing about disunity? And what is the alternative for a large media corporation - no governance. Let us return back to medieval ages.

In return for taking away governance the employees were offered sops. At least something is better than nothing.

The employees will get a goodwill incentive payment of Rs. 41,600 in addition to a bonus of 20 per cent of wages this year.




Monday, October 21, 2013

Bon voyage Sidd V we hardly knew ye

The followers of this blog might recollect that we went into hibernation around the time Lt Hon Sidd Varadarajan was named Editor in Chief of cHindu couple of years back.

Now with the announcement of his removal (or should we say firing?) the Hon LiC has done the newspaper some good. The replacements are no new faces by any stretch. The new editors N.Ravi and Malini Parthasarathy were formerly the editors between 1991 and 2003. So they question is how and why did this happen? The how is quite simple - there are 12 directors with equal stake the scions of the Narasimhan, Parthasarathy, Rangarajan and Kasturi ( who were past owners/publishers of the paper). In the past the scions of Narasimhand and Parthasarathy (old guard) were split against the scions of Rangarajan and Kasturi (new guard). The tie breaker in most scenarios came down in the past to veterans like S.Rangarajan, but with his passing last year the balance started to tilt.

After a serious of horrendous missteps and biased targeting of a certain CM without facts, the directors decided for change. The two groups made a blatant power grab. Out with the Frankenstein monsters and in with new faces. The new guard probably wanted K.Venugopal as Editor in Chief and K. Balaji restored as Managing Director. This was checkmated by LiC who cast his vote with his siblings. The particularly telling statement was that Sidd V had to go. Both groups probably agreed on that.

The decision to make deep-going changes was made chiefly on the ground that there were recurrent violations and defiance of the framework of the institution’s longstanding values on the business side, and recurrent violations and defiance of ‘Living Our Values’, the mandatory Code of Editorial Values applicable to The Hindu.

The interesting part was follow the tweets of Tunku V (Sidd's elder brother) who blatantly blamed family politics for his brother's removal. Never once did it cross him that people with inefficient performance can be fired.
The disagreement was who would get the plum chairs in this game of family musical chairs. It appears that this game is far from over.