The new CEO Rahul Johri, whose appointment was ratified at the special general body meeting of the BCCI on Sunday, faced his first problem right away when the former secretary Niranjan Shah raised issues about the duties of CEO.
As per the BCCI constitution, the board secretary acts as CEO of the board, and he represents the Indian board in the International Cricket Council in the Chief Executive Committee meetings. Ajay Shirke is the new board secretary and Shah raised doubts about the role of Johri. As per BCCI constitution, the secretary shall function as the Chief Executive of the board and will have general control over all matters regarding the board, and its employees.
When Shah raised the issue on Sunday, the new president Thakur and the secretary Shirke told the members that the issue will be sorted out. “It’s a special situation, there will be some constitutional amendment that needs to made for this and we will look into it,” Shirke said.
It is not the first time BCCI is facing such an issue. When Sharad Pawar became the board president he had appointed Ratnakar Shetty as CEO of BCCI, but after Shah’s objection then, Shetty was given the profile of Chief Operating Officer. Sundar Raman, who quit IPL as COO, too was given profile of IPL-CEO but had to change his designation.
Johri, who served as Discovery Networks Asia Pacific’s executive vice-president and general manager for South Asia, will start his new role from June 1 where he will be responsible for “smooth functioning of operations, stakeholder management and building robust strategies for promoting of sport.” Johri will report to the BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur.
In January 2016, the Supreme court nominated Lodha committee had recommended the appointment of CEO, and even detailed out the structure. For its part, the BCCI has said that appointment of CEO and CFO posts was part of the ‘Project Transformation’ they have initiated to improve governance. Johri has had a chequered career with Discovery, and is known to be the man who turned around a channel perceived as ‘educational’ to a 11-channel bouquet – a network of infotainment offering a host of non-fiction content, an award-wining makeover widely respected in the broadcasting industry.
Johri has a previous IPL connection, of sorts. In 2010, following his idea, the lifestyle channel Discovery Travel & Living produced and broadcasted a 10-episode show called – Living With A Superstar—Shahrukh Khan. Four of its episodes revolved around Kolkata Knight Riders. Titled ‘The king and his knights’ it took the viewers behind the scenes and on the road with the team, covering a season.