Last morning, we announced that Raj Nayak had taken charge as CEO of Colors.
I had known of the impending announcement for a bit, and had quietly celebrated the news – because, as the worthy Rajesh Kamath quit, Viacom18 needed to find a replacement who would energise and reinvigorate the channel.
And, in such a situation, there’s no one better than a salesman.
Raj and I were colleagues at STAR TV when STAR started operations in India. So I know Raj and I know Peter Mukerjea, for donkey’s years.
Peter’s in Bristol now, but we meet every time he comes to India and to Mumbai, which is every few months. And when I hear he’s coming, a few of us who worked with Peter at STAR call each other up and try and catch up for a drink or seven.
And I think of those names now: Raj Nayak, Yash Khanna, Seema Mohapatra, Monica Tata…
And I think of a few more: Sunita Rajan, Sameer Nair, Vibhu Sharma, Ajay Vidyasagar, Sumantra Dutta, Rajnath Kamath.
And I make a quick list of where they are today:
Raj Nayak is CEO of Colors
Yash Khanna retired from STAR and joined CMCG
Seema Mohapatra is the regional director for ad sales for BBC Worldwide for South Asia
Monica Tata is VP and Deputy GM, Entertainment Networks, South Asia for Turner (shortly a little more than that, but more of that later)
Sunita Rajan is Vice President Ad Sales, Asia & Australasia for BBC Worldwide
Sameer Nair is Chief Executive Officer, Turner General Entertainment Networks India Pvt. Ltd
Vibhu Sharma is MD India, SVP SEAsia at Sydus
Ajay Vidyasagar was, till recently, COO of Sun Networks and is now with Google (I googled his name, but I can’t figure out what he’s gone there as)
Sumantra Dutta is Country Head - Middle East, Africa & Pakistan at STAR Group
Rajnath Kamath is Group Director - Ad. Sales at IBN18 Broadcast Ltd
Now, consider that none of them, when hired by Peter, had ever worked in television. For example, Raj Nayak, I think, worked with Sunday Mail before he joined STAR; Vibhu and Rajnath Kamath in media planning (which, those days, included media buying), Ajay in account planning, Seema in hospitality and so on.
Today, if you look at the list above, there are two things that all these worthies have in common: 1. They are all successful. 2. They all worked with Peter Mukerjea in the first days of STAR TV in India, in the early 1994-96 period.
These were the hallmarks of Peter – the ability to find talented individuals and the ability to make them into sound managers and entrepreneurs.
And the ability to spot future winners.
I’m not surprised, remotely, by Raj’s landing the job at Colors. He’s earned his spurs under Peter.
Not all those who worked with Peter in those days are in television now, but take a quick dekko at those who are still in this business.
And count the GRPs that all of them deliver – and sell.
And in a few hours, Peter, having a cup of tea in Bristol. will read this blog (he reads everything on Indian media). And he’ll text or mail or call all the people on this list because that’s the kind of person he is; for him, relationships are everything.
Which is something else that Raj learned from Peter.
Best of luck, Raj.