It was the most dramatic exit at STAR in recent months with executives at the network unwilling to come on record throughout the latter half of last week, when news about Tarun Katial's resignation first hit the headlines. Indeed, for many, it was hard to believe that the senior-vice president, content and communication, who was responsible for the entire programming and marketing of STAR Plus, would even consider moving out, given his track record of successfully managing affairs at the media group's flagship channel.
Under Katial's stewardship, STAR Plus was able to maintain its commanding lead in C&S households even as rivals in the Hindi general entertainment genre, notably, Sony and ZEE, attempted to resuscitate their programming over the last two years.
Katial, who took over from Sameer Nair, his superior and mentor, when the latter was promoted as COO early last year, decided against taking up an internal transfer to Hong Kong, fueling speculation about his resignation last week. Katial, in conversation with agencyfaqs!, concedes that he "passed the transfer for personal reasons". "However, I have had a great innings at STAR and it has been a great learning experience," he says.
For the ad and media professional - who began his career at Saatchi & Saatchi, moving subsequently to Enterprise Nexus and O&M - the all-important switch to television was made in 1999 when he joined STAR as assistant manager, strategy and planning. "My involvement with content at STAR was there from day one, and I would like to look at portfolios that have a mix of creative and general management," he says.
For now though, he intends taking a one-month break before he decides on his next stopover. "I am looking at options within cinema and TV production, though, I am keeping my mind open," he says.
Meanwhile, it is business as usual for the number one network with the management having found a replacement to Katial in Deepak Segal, creative director, STAR Plus, who has been redesignated senior vice-president, content and communication.
An alumnus of the FTII or Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, Segal was closely associated with STAR's mega venture, JoshÖAktion Unlimited, and is the son of well-known producer-director Mohan Segal. ¬© 2003 agencyfaqs!