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