SBS Chairman Nihal Gupta has resigned from the post citing personal family reasons. Mr Gupta was appointed as SBS chairman in 2014, after beating former NSW Premier Nick Greiner for the position.
“It has been a privilege to chair SBS and I wish the organisation all the best for the future,” Mr Gupta said. Deputy chairman, Dr Bulent Hass Dellal OAM, will serve as acting chairman.
Mr Gupta came to the job after the government declined to appoint his predecessor, investment banker Joseph Skrzynski, for a second term. Malcolm Turnbull, then communications minister, had argued for Mr Skzrzynski to be reappointed but was overruled by former prime minister Tony Abbott.
Nihal’s Gupta’s Turbulent tenure as SBS Chairman
Last year Labor communications spokesman Jason Clare demanded that SBS chairman Nihal Gupta be sacked, for refusing to answer questions over whether he lied to get the job. The call came after Gupta appeared before a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on 19th March 2015. The appearance, requested after SBS managing director Michael Ebeid resisted answering questions about Gupta. Nihal was the first SBS Chairman of Indian descent
During that Senate estimates hearing, Labor senator Sam Dastyari repeatedly clashed with the chairman for refusing to answer questions about his appointment to the five-year position, on an annual pay-packet of $120,000, saying he should not have to substantiate his appointment.
Labor questioned Mr Gupta’s credentials for the role following revelations he was the sole employee, as well as the managing director, of Digital Electronics Corporation Australia. . Nihal Gupta told the SBS Nomination panel at that time that he had 200 employees at his company, Digital Electronics Corporation Australia (DECA), when in fact he was the sole-consultant.
Mr Nihal Gupta was the Managing Director of Digital Electronics Corporation Australia and held numerous community board positions, including Chairman of the NSW Multicultural Business Advisory Panel, appointee of the Judicial Commission of NSW, Trustee of the Board of the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust, board member of Asia Society of Australia, board member of Naisda Foundation Limited (National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association), member of the NSW Export and Investment Advisory Panel and board member of the Parramasala festival – an annual celebration of Asian arts and culture. The rise of Nihal is linked to ascension of Barry O’ Farrel then as the Premier of NSW. Most of his board and Government positions were handed over to him by Barry O’ Farrel.
The Chairman of SBS is appointed on the recommendations of The Nomination panel. The Nomination Panel conducts a merit-based process to identify suitable candidates to fill the vacancies on the SBS board in line with legislative requirements under the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991. Mr Gupta’s suitability and level of experience for the high-profile and complex role of SBS chairman have raised concerns
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