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