book bazaar

HarperCollins India signals a shift with the entry of new CEO from Penguin Random House

The move indicates a new urgency in the business plans of the multinational book-publisher in India.

The English-language publishing business in India doesn’t often witness dramatic moves at the top. That’s why the announcement on Tuesday that PM Sukumar had resigned from his post of CEO of HarperCollins India came as a minor shock to the trade.

Sukumar’s replacement completes the other half of the biggest top-level shift in the industry. HarperCollins India’s next CEO will be Ananth Padmanabhan, till now the senior vice-President, Penguin Random House, where he oversaw the crucial sales function. A Penguin veteran of 18 years – he joined the company in 1997 – Padmanabhan, like Sukumar, was often thought to be umbilically attached to his company.

Significantly, HarperCollins’s education business in the country, represented by Collins India, which publishes text and educational books, will be run on a day to day basis by Krishna Naroor, who will not be reporting to Padmanabhan but will be working alongside him.

Neither HarperCollins India nor Penguin Random House announces their financials publicly, but the two companies are believed to be the No. 2 and No. 1 company in English trade publishing in India, respectively. However, the gap between them has widened after the merger of Random House and Penguin.

While there are, naturally, no official reasons for the change at the top, the near-concurrence of the announcement of Sukumar’s departure and Padmanabhan’s arrival at HarperCollins India points to the move being a choreographed one. Sukumar piloted the company through its early day and initial growth, and now Padmanabhan is expected to step on the gas.

The move also coincides with the shift in HarperCollins India’s global alignment. The Indian company will now be overseen by HarperCollins UK instead of HarperCollins US, with UK CEO Charlier Redmayne – whose brother Eddie won an Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking – being personally involved.

Known for stability

That this change at the top is taking place at HarperCollins India is something of a surprise, for the company has been an oasis of calm when it comes to editor and publisher movements. While Penguin Random House, Bloomsbury and the Aleph Book Company, among others, have seen departures of top and senior-level editors in recent times, HarperCollins India has sailed serenely through such turbulence.

For instance, the two editors at the company, Karthika VK and Krishan Chopra, have been with HarperCollins India since 2006, when they moved from Penguin Books. And Sukumar himself joined the company as CEO in 2005.

Padmanabhan is taking over at a difficult time for trade publishing in India. After three years of back to back growth of over 20%, 2014 saw the market turning flat for the first time, with little or no growth in most segments. And the first half of 2015 is believed to have seen a fall in both the number of books sold and their value.

Rupert Murdoch’s empire, which owns the HarperCollins group, has made no secret of his desire to expand all its businesses in India, the biggest of which, of course, is the STAR television network. If appointing Padmanabhan is a signal that HarperCollins India will now look to being the No. 1 player in the industry, it will be interesting to see whether organic growth or acquisition takes precedence.

Padmanabhan was believed to have been in the running for the post of CEO of the post-merger Penguin Random House in 2013. But the post eventually went to Gaurav Shrinagesh, till then the CEO of Random House India. At 40, he is considerably younger than the outgoing CEO Sukumar, the difference probably an indicator of where HarperCollins realises the future of books lies in India.

Corrections and clarifications: An earlier version of this report had mistakenly stated that the STAR television network is part of News Corp. It is in fact part of 21st Century Fox. Both News Corp and  21st Century Fox are part of Rupert Murdoch's business empire.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Daily survival can be accomplished on a budget

By knowing what you need, when you need it and where to find it.

Creating and managing a fully-functional adult life can get overwhelming. If the planning isn’t intimidating enough, the budgeting is especially stressful with the rising prices of daily essentials. A separate survival fund is not what is required, though. The bulk of survival in the 21st century is based on your product smarts. Knowing what you need when you need it is more than half the battle won.

Needs vary according to different life situations. For instance, in their first tryst with homemaking, young tenants struggle for survival. They need to cultivate a relationship with products they never cared to use at home. Floor cleaners, bathroom cleaners and dish soaps are essential; monitor their usage with discipline. Then there are personal utensils, to be safeguarded with a vengeance. Let’s not forget mosquito, rodent and cockroach repellents to keep hefty, unwanted medical bills away. For those shifting into a hostel for the first time, making an initial inventory covering even the most underrated things (basic kitchen implements, first aid kit, clothes hangers, cloth clips etc.) will help reduce self-made crises.

Glowing new parents, meanwhile, face acute, urgent needs. Drowning in best wishes and cute gifts, they tend to face an immediate drought of baby supplies. Figuring out a steady, reliable supply of diapers and baby shampoos, soaps, powders and creams can take a slight edge off of parenting for exhausted new parents.

Then there are the experts, the long-time homemakers. Though proficient, they can be more efficient with regards to their family’s nutrition needs with some organisation. A well-laid out kitchen command centre will help plan out their shopping and other chores for the coming day, week and month. Weekly meal plans, for example, will not only ensure all family members eat right, but will also cut down on indecision in the supermarket aisle and the subsequent wasteful spending. Jot down fruits and vegetables, dried fruits and nuts and health beverages for growing kids. Snack Stations are a saviour for moms with perpetually hungry li’l ones, keeping your refrigerator strategically stocked with healthy snacks options that can cater to tastes of all family members.

Once the key needs are identified, the remainder of the daily survival battle is fought on supermarket aisles. Collecting deals, tracking sales days and supermarket hopping have been the holy grail of budget shopping. Some supermarkets, though, are more proactive in presenting value for money on items of daily need. The video below captures the experiences of shoppers who have managed savings just by their choice of supermarket.

Play

Big Bazaar offers the easiest route to budget shopping with its lowest price guarantee on 1500+ daily essentials across all its stores. This offer covers all frequently bought items such as ghee, sugar, edible oil, detergent, toilet cleaners, soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, health drinks, tea, biscuits and much, much more. Moreover, the ‘Har Din Lowest Price’ guarantee is not limited to a few sales days and will be applicable all year round. To know more about Har Din Lowest Price at Big Bazaar, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Big Bazaar and not by the Scroll editorial team.