RPG group chairman Harsh Goenka supports Zee TV’s Punit Goenka

Two of Zee’s top investors have sought Goenka’s exit as board director

MUMBAI: The media has been full of cacophonic noise about the boardroom battle that is going on at Zee Entertainment Enterprises. Some investor groups have lauded the initiative by two of the company’s two main investors to reconstitute the board and oust CEO & managing director Punit Goenka (who represents the promoter family being Subhash Chandra’s son) for failing to professionalise the management and enhancing the shareholder value.

Institutional Investor Advisory Services founder Anil Singhvi is quite vociferous that Zee is one of the best Indian media companies but needs to be in the hands of a good professional CEO. Speaking to he said that the promoter family should also be happy about this. “They have a four per cent stake and already their value has gone up with the share price rising 25-30 per cent on the announcement by the two institutional investors to hold an EGM to move out Goenka and the resignation of the two directors,” he pointed out.

However, smaller shareholders voiced their confidence in Punit’s ability to get Zee back as a stellar performer during the company’s AGM on 14 September where he explained the initiatives that were underway under his leadership. Punit also reiterated that there were no hidden or shady related third party transactions under his charge as is being alleged.

There are many in the industry who point out that Punit has definitely brought In professionalism into the company by bringing in executives at the leadership level from companies such as Hindustan Lever, Future, BCCI, and Aditya Birla group and built a good management team.

Among them is corporate leader Harsh Goenka (chairman of the $3.80 billion RPG group and no relation to Punit). Harsh has come out in support of Punit.

Late in the evening of 15 September Harsh tweeted: “I just can’t understand why would a large investor try to destabilise a good leader, a good management team, which has a track record to show. If valid reasons were given, it’s different. A dangerous trend! #Zee.”

Most of his followers on Twitter seconded his view, while the naysayers said the promoter family had it coming.

The coming days will decide whether the street and Zee’s investors will have the last word. Or the promoter family.

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