NTV Business Editor Wallace Kantai has left the television station in a hushed-up exit that sources say may have resulted from a fallout at the NMG newsroom.
It is understood that Kantai, who joined NTV as Business Editor in 2010, left Nation Media Group (NMG) last Friday after serving notice.
Sources say Kantai is a victim of the convergence model implemented by NMG last year, which led to the collapsing all its business media platforms – print, digital and TV – into one.
The business desks were put under the Business Daily, led by managing editor Ochieng Rapuro. The transition was never going to be smooth as journalists from Daily Nation and NTV did not hide their reservations about the new development.
Consolidating business desks under BD was taken as a vote of confidence in the Business Daily, seen as the bastion of business journalism at NMG.
There was initial resistance but affected journalists eventually yielded after an executive directive to merge of all business desks under the Nation Media Group. The then Daily Nation Business Editor Wachira Kang’aru was first to leave, barely two months after convergence became effective.
Kantai’s exit was expected, given the frosty relations that existed between the editors under the new order.
“It was an issue of who calls the shots,” said a journalist form the NMG business desk. “Kantai never accepted the fact that he should work under Business Daily. There were also other administrative issues in play.”
While it may look on the surface as a disgruntled member leaving the team, the high-profile exit, which follows resignation of a number of reporters at both BD and Daily Nation business desk could be a sign that convergence is becoming counter-productive: pushing out, instead of consolidating, talent.
A converged model can present a hostile working environment especially to those perceived to have been swallowed by their bigger brothers, leading to a battle of interests, egos and legroom.
During his tenure as business editor, Kantai interviewed and interacted with dozens of high-level business leaders and policymakers. He also has also moderated high-level roundtables.
Kantai has in the past held roles in the information technology, non-profit and public relations fields in Kenya, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Before joining NTV he was the communications consultant at Wananchi Group and hosted The Platform show on Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.
A product of Lenana School, Kantai studied history and political science at the University of Nairobi.
His exit is likely to lead to a realignment on the NMG business desk with speculation that one of the BD section editors could be put in charge of NTV. Sources at Nation Centre say Washington Gikunju, who heads the newsdesk for the converged team, could end up handling the NTV section as well.