Ashok Mansukhani is an experienced professional with over five decades of operational/regulatory and strategic expertise of the Indian electronic media industry and government tax administration.
HINDUJA MEDIA GROUP
He recently retired from Hinduja Group as Managing Director of NXT DIGITAL Limited and Vice Chairman of IndusInd Media and Communications Limited.
In the 24 years spent in Hinduja Group, he took the lead in creating a level playing field for the electronic media distribution companies by actively coordinating with the highest Government/Regulator and Trade Bodies like FICCI/CII/Assocham. Sections of the industry challenged almost all new regulations right from 2005. Drawing on his litigation skills, he has helped the linear media electronic distribution industry fight cases right up to the Supreme Court. Two significant victories were the Delhi High Court order to regulate the sector in the judgment of 2007 and the New Tariff Order of 2017/2018 being upheld by the Supreme Court. This N.T.O. changed the fortunes of the Cable and D.T.H. industry uneven level playing field. His in-depth knowledge and acumen of regulatory knowledge and skills have been well appreciated by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and Telecom Disputes and Appellate Tribunal.
INDUSIND MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED
In 1996, he had joined the Hinduja Group in Mumbai in IndusInd Media Communications Limited (IMCL) in 1996 as Chief Operating Officer and was entrusted with various operational and corporate responsibilities capacities. He helped it become India’s first premier Multi-system Operator in four years, with direct operations in seven cities and creating a franchisee chain of hundreds of operators and over fifteen joint ventures in a unique partnership with the local cable operators in a pioneering corporatized set up.
Ashok Mansukhani steered IMCL in many different roles in the past 24 years. In 2017,he was made Managing Director of IMCL. As MD of IMCL, he engineered a massive spread of high-quality digital cable signals using the revolutionary ‘Headend in the Sky’ (HITS) technology to over 2000 additional pin codes in 1000 towns over the length and breadth of Rural and Semi-Rural India apart from consolidating the ‘In Digital’ cable networks in urban and metro systems.
He introduced and pushed through a pioneering prepaid system eliminating massive leakages that have been happening in cash collection in the cable industry in the past 25 years. This prepaid system proved especially helpful in the current lockdown period in 2020/21 when collections flowed unabated with no disruption.
IMCL evolved from a pioneer Multisystem Operator in the 1990s to a premiere Digital Services Provider today offering digital cable, satellite cable distribution and broadband through its subsidiary One O.T.T. Limited.
In 2018 he was elevated as Vice Chairman of IMCL and continued till he completed his term in the Board in November 2020.
CORPORATE CAREER IN HINDUJA MEDIA GROUP
After completing his tenure as COO IMCL in 2001, Ashok Mansukhani had joined Hinduja TMT Limited (later Hinduja Ventures Limited/ NXT Digital Limited) as Executive Vice President overseeing the Hinduja group’s media investments in cable/broadband and content on behalf of the London based Promoters.
He also served the Boards of all the Hinduja Media companies including IndusInd Media and Communications Limited (Cable M.S.O.); One O.T.T. Limited (Broadband I.S.P.) and In-Network Limited (Content/teleshopping and movie investments). He introduced many innovative corporate governance measures, risk management and internal audit mechanisms to ensure that all material subsidiaries of Hinduja Ventures/N.D.L. were made listing compliant.
In 2012, he was appointed to the Board of Hinduja Ventures Limited (H.V.L.)/NXT DIGITAL Limited (N.D.L.) as Whole Time Director. Ashok Mansukhani provided complete transparency of the listed company’s functioning, especially the Independent Directors’ accounts and audit practices. He pioneered detailed pre-board meetings every two months for the independent directors and the Group’s non-executive directors. This proactive measure enabled the Management to benefit from the Board Directors’ vast expertise and smoothened conduct of board meetings. His contribution in HVL/NDL to setting up internal audit mechanisms and close monitoring of all SEBI Regulations led to the innovative corporate governance mechanisms adopted by other Group companies and appreciated in the Independent Directors’ annual reviews.
In 2018 he was elevated as Managing Director of Hinduja Ventures (now NXT DIGITAL Limited- N.D.L.) from 2018 to 2020. The digital cable business of Hinduja Media Group known as ‘In Digital’ and the Headend in the Sky business known as ‘NXT Digital’ run so far by its material subsidiary IndusInd Media and Communications Limited was recently merged into N.D.L. by order of the National Company Tribunal in August 2020.He spearheaded the entire merger process obtaining all the regulatory and judicial approvals through the current lockdown period.
INDIAN REVENUE SERVICE (INCOME TAX DEPARTMENT)
Before joining the Hinduja Group in 1996, he served the Government of India for 21 years between 1975 -1996 as a member of the Indian Revenue Service (I.R.S.) in the Income Tax Department. He specialized in corporate taxation and in-depth investigation of complex cases. He also served as a Government lawyer on the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal with an excellent track record of winning complex corporate appeals against renowned tax counsels.
In 1992 he was deputed from the I.R.S. as Deputy Director-General Administration and Vigilance Doordarshan in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and later as an Internal Financial Adviser Doordarshan. During his tenure, he helped Doordarshan transform itself from a three-channel operation into a multi-language 25 channel satellite operator among Asia’s largest. Ashok Mansukhani was responsible for human resource functions of 19000 employees and administration over 900 TV transmitter locations.
Ashok Mansukhani is a pioneer Doordarshan presenter/Yuva Vani broadcaster in the early 1970s apart from being a radio reporter in the late 60s. He wrote a regular column for the iconic Junior Statesman in the early 70s. He spent four years with the Times of India sub-editor/publisher in the period 1971-75.
Ashok Mansukhani is currently on a sabbatical for a couple of weeks before he starts independent law practice in corporate law, taxation, and media law later this summer.