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Sony’s India Head NP Singh to Step Down, Months After Merger Deal With ZEEL Collapses

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NP Singh, the well-respected head of Sony’s entertainment businesses in India, is to step down.

The announcement was made on Friday local time. A precise timeline for his exit as MD and CEO of Sony Pictures Networks India was unavailable.

“I will continue to lead SPNI until we find the right person to take over. We have begun a structured succession planning process for my successor and hope to have exciting news to share in the near future. Finding the right fit is our top priority,” Singh said in an emailed statement.

He pointed to age and personal reasons as motivation for his decision. “After nearly 44 years in my career, including a rewarding 25-year tenure at SPNI, I have decided to move on from my role as MD and CEO. Having reached many significant milestones with our team, I am now ready to focus on social change and shift from operational roles to advisory ones,” Singh’s statement said.

“However, my commitment to SPNI and its success remains strong. During my time here, we have established industry benchmarks, expanded our reach, and achieved many noteworthy accomplishments. I am dedicated to ensuring our legacy of success continues and grows under the new leadership,” he said in the statement.

The move comes just a few months after the collapse of Sony’s previously amicable deal to merge its Indian film, TV and streaming businesses with those of Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL). Had the deal gone through, it would have led to the establishment of a large, content-rich new player in the TV and streaming space that may have been able to compete strongly with the emerging colossus of Muhesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries and its Viacom18-JioCinema nexus.

The merger deal had been in negotiations for more than two years. It officially started in December 2021, gained necessary regulatory approvals along the way, but ended acrimoniously in Jan. 2024 when Sony walked away.

Sony said at the time that certain conditions had not been met. Both parties are now seeking financial recompense from the other.

Despite the collapse of the merger, Sony has put significant emphasis on expansion in India, a youth-driven and expanding. market, which in many ways is the opposite of its native Japan. Singh was regarded as a safe pair of hands and was expected by many in the industry to oversee Sony’s next growth steps in the country. He was a featured speaker at Sony Group Corporation’s annual strategy presentation in 2023.