Durga Raghunath, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Network18 Digital, the digital content arm of Network18 and Investments Ltd, has left the company. Details on her next move are not available as of now.
She had been promoted as CEO of Network18 Digital in April this year. At the time, Durga had replaced Lakshmi Narasimhan, who had moved into a corporate role within the company. The development was first reported by MediaNama.
Durga had been with Network18 since 2011, and was earlier the CEO of Firstpost.com, the group's news and opinion portal. She is credited with conceptualising and launching Firstpost.com. She has over 10 years of experience in publishing â€“ both books and digital, and had earlier worked at the Wall Street Journal, Mint and HarperCollins in New York. She holds a MBA degree from Indian School of Business (Hyderabad) and had studied publishing at Columbia University.
Network18 Digital, earlier referred to as Web18, comprises of digital content brands and services including Moneycontrol.com, Ibnlive.com, Firstpost.com, Burrp.com and the recently-launched Firstbiz.com and News18.com. Last November, the firm had shut down its music streaming service In.com.
Her departure follows a number of high-profile exits from the Network18 Group. Earlier this year, B Sai Kumar, who took over as group CEO of the Network18 Group from Haresh Chawla in late 2011, left the company. He had also stepped down from all the board of the group's various joint ventures.
Within days of Kumar's departure, Network18 Group chief operating officer (COO) Ajay Chacko, and its chief financial officer (CFO) RDS Bawa also left the company.
During the same time, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) had picked majority stake in Network18 Group in the biggest deal in the Indian media sector. This marked the culmination of the multi-tier deal originally struck two years ago, where, in the first leg, the group had bankrolled Network18 promoters to buy Eenadu with convertible debt.
RIL said its board has approved infusion of up to Rs 4,000 crore into Independent Media Trust (IMT), a unit under Reliance Industries, for the acquisition of control in Network 18 Media & Investments Limited (NW18) including its subsidiary TV18 Broadcast Limited (TV18) and the open offers to be made consequent to the acquisition.