In a surprise move expected to create quite some debate in the media industry, Standard Media Group is expected to appoint Ochieng Rapuro, the former Business Daily managing editor, as editorial director.
Rapuro, who was moved to the East African weekly newspaper in the January 2019 reshuffle at the Nation Media Group, is understood to have reached a deal to join Standard as the highest editorial head. Sources at Nation Centre, the head office of NMG, say he has already tendered his resignation and now serving notice.
But speaking to Business Today, Rapuro appeared to downplay the heavy rumours doing rounds in media. “We are talking but nothing concrete yet,” he said. “There will be clarity in the next few days.”
If he gets the job, it will present an interesting turn of events at Standard Media Group, which has been looking for an editorial director to replace Joseph Odindo since his contract expired in November last year. It will indeed be a major win for Rapuro, whose redeployment by NMG editorial director Mutuma Mathiu to The East Africa newspaper, a weekly, from Business Daily was widely interpreted as a demotion.
But it will present a complex puzzle for insiders at Standard who have been eyeing the top job, including deputy Editorial Director Kipkoech Tanui and head of magazines John Bundotich, among others.
Rapuro left Standard in 2008 as business editor to join Business Daily, which he later took over from founding editor Nick Wachira. As business editor at Standard he worked under both Bundotich and Tanui, who he now has to supervise in a new shift of power that could initially create tensions in the Standard newsroom.
Many may see Odindo’s hand in Rapuro’s appointment while others think Standard CEO Orlando Lyomu could be moving to break tradition where the Moi family, who are the principal shareholders, decide who leads the media house’s editorial department.
Rapuro holds a Master of Arts degree in public policy analysis from University of Potsdam.