Guthrie quits STAR India; Paul Aiello takesover

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STAR CEO Michelle Guthrie has resigned. Effective 1st March, Paul Aiello, who is currently STAR Group’s President, will succeed Guthrie as CEO. In the next two months, Guthrie will work very closely with Aiello to ensure a smooth transition. At the same time, the India operations have not been spared. Speculation is rife that STAR Entertainment CEO, Sameer Nair, has quit or is on the verge of quitting the organisation.

In a letter addressed to STAR employees, Guthrie stated: “I�۪m sorry to let you know that I have decided to resign as Chief Executive Officer of STAR. Obviously, this is a very difficult decision for me as I�۪ve been with the company for almost seven years and have a great attachment to it and particularly to all of you. Nevertheless, I have decided it is time for me to take a break.”

Reports in a section of the media today stated that Sameer Nair too is taking a similar course. The reports also speculated that Nair�۪s next stop is NDTV. However, STAR officials state that there is no truth in the rumours about Nair quitting. NDTV, on the other hand, categorically stated that there was no truth that Nair was joining them.

Aiello joined STAR last year. Even before he joined, he had provided investment and strategic advice to the company for the last five years while working for Morgan Stanley. The mail from Guthrie states: “Since joining us, he has become heavily involved in all of STAR�۪s key operations, while also identifying core strategic initiatives that are and will continue to be critical to the company�۪s future growth. He has also been instrumental in installing structures that have streamlined our decision-making process and have helped us focus our priorities. I have every confidence that I leave the company in good hands under Paul�۪s leadership.”

Commenting on the announcement, Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive, News Corporation, said, “Michelle has overseen an important stage of growth at STAR, as it fortified its position as Asia’s leading media company. STAR’s distribution footprint as well as the depth of its content brands are unmatched among other major regional players in the industry. We thank Michelle for her contributions and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

“Paul has done an exceptional job at STAR since joining the company, leading its corporate team and overseeing its overall growth strategy. Paul’s business acumen, strong leadership and financial skills as well as in-depth knowledge of the diverse and complex media and telecommunications industries in Asia make him the ideal candidate to steer the long-term growth and success of the company,” Murdoch continued.

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