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Saturday, Aug 23, 2003

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Change of guard at Saregama?

Indrani Dutta

Kolkata Aug. 22

SOME top-level changes seem to be in the offing at Saregama India Ltd (SIL) - the entertainment outfit of the RPG group.

Indications are that the present Managing Director of SIL, Mr Abhik Mitra, will be given some other assignment within the group and Mr Dilip Mehta, now the MD of RPG Cellular, will assume the responsibilities of SIL.

While Mr Mitra is based in Mumbai, Mr Mehta is based in Chennai.

Company sources confirmed that some changes are in the offing at the top in Saregama, but said that no official circular had been issued by the group Chairman, Mr Harsh Goenka, as yet.

"The normal practice is for Mr Goenka to issue a circular, but in this case no such circular has been issued as yet," they said.

The indications are that Mr Mitra will be moved into the strategic planning unit of RPG Enterprise. When contacted by Business Line in Mumbai, Mr Mitra said he was in no position to make any comment at this stage.

Indications are that both Mr Mitra and Mr Mehta would be in the city on Monday, when a clearer picture is expected to emerge.

It may be mentioned here that, a few months back, following a reorganisation of the music business of Saregama, Mr Mitra was given the charge of the business with other divisions being created to take care of the emerging areas that the erstwhile Gramophone Company of India was foraying into.

According to the RPG group plan, the loss-ridden Saregama was projected to make a re-entry into the black by 2006-07, riding on the back of new areas such as TV software, etc.

As part of the revival efforts, the Saregama board has proposed to hive off the film production activities since it was felt that music acquisition and film production had different funding needs.

The company, which was once synonymous with one of the country's most enduring logos `His Master's Voice', is now a shadow of its former self, steeped as it is in losses and plagued by piracy problems.

Saregama's 2002-03 losses stood at Rs 38.9 crore against the previous year's Rs 25.76 crore. Turnover, at Rs 95 crore in 2002-03, also took a hit.

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Change of guard at Saregama?

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