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Shashi Shekhar Vempati to take charge as Prasar Bharati CEO

LiveMint logoLiveMint 02-06-2017 Harveen Ahluwalia

Shashi Shekhar Vempati, former head of online media company Niti Digital, has been named chief executive officer (CEO) of public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, the information and broadcasting ministry said in a statement.

Prasar Bharati runs state-run Doordarshan television and All India Radio.

Vempati, 43, will be the first non-Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer to head the public broadcaster.

He will replace Rajeev Singh, who has been serving as interim CEO since February 2017.

Vempati is currently on the Prasar Bharati board as a part-time member.

“Shashi Shekhar comes with very strong credentials. As a part time member of Prasar Bharati, he has been doing a great job. Technology and media management are his strong suits, which are a must for the CEO of Prasar Bharati, the biggest media organization in the world. I thank the government for this decision,” said A. Surya Prakash, chairman at Prasar Bharati.

The post of CEO has been vacant since November 2016 after Jawahar Sircar put in his papers, four months before his retirement.

“His appointment is in line with the PM’s vision to appoint young technocrats and professionals to run the public broadcaster,” said a persons familiar with the development on condition of anonymity.

Vempati has been appointed on a recommendation by a three-member committee headed by vice-president Hamid Ansari. The committee also includes the Press Council of India chairman and the secretary of the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry.

As the CEO of Niti Digital, Vempati was responsible for online news platform NitiCentral.com. The graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay worked at software services company Infosys Ltd for 16 years.

Vempati’s appointment comes at a time when the public broadcaster is in the process of revamping Doordarshan by introducing new programming and repackaging existing channels.

The broadcaster is planning to launch new channels in the children, youth and music genres and has also re-introduced some of its old shows from the 1980s on DD National.

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