While there are still attempts being made to get Katial to reconsider
his decision to quit, his transfer to Hong Kong is final and irrevocable,
sources close to the situation say. Information available with indiantelevision.com
indicates that Star India COO Sameer Nair will internally be making
the announcement today that Deepak Segal, creative director, Star
Plus, is being redesignated senior vice-president, content and communication.
Segal therefore will be taking over Katial's position at India's
leading broadcast network.
Nair was reportedly scheduled to meet his "protege" this evening
but it is unlikely to make any material difference to the situation.
Sources close to Katial say he will be taking a month's break to
decide what to do next. Knowing Katial's fondness for the UK as
a holiday destination (his sister is settled there), Star's creative
whizz kid would in all likelihood be headed there.
If Katial had agreed to the transfer to Hong Kong, it would have
involved working very closely with Steve Askew, who till last week
was the programming head of the pan-Asian broadcaster.
Askew has just been promoted to executive vice-president, television
operations at Star and president, Star Entertainment. Askew now
not only spearheads Star's programming in India, China and Taiwan,
he also oversees the broadcast operations and engineering division
of Star and the company's Taiwan operation.
Segal, a product of the Film and Television Institute of India
(FTII), has been closely associated with Star's recent big budget
detective series Josh... Aktion Unlimited. Segal comes from
a film background. His father is the well known producer-director
of yesteryears Mohan Segal.
Katial began his career at Saatchi & Saatchi but it was when he
was at Ogilvy and Mather managing media buying on television that
he first came into contact with Peter Mukerjea, heading ad sales
at Star at the time. A few months after Mukerjea took over as CEO
from Rathikant Basu in February 1999, he invited Katial to join
Katial, who joined Star in July 1999 as assistant manager, strategy
and planning, had a meteoric rise at the jewel in Rupert Murdoch's
Asian crown to reach where he did today, managing all programming
and marketing of the Star network.