Vinod Sawhny resigns as Reliance Communications CEO ahead of Aircel merger looms

rcomReliance Communications said its CEO Vinod Sawhny resigned  with immediate effect for personal reasons.

“We wish to inform you that the Company has accepted request of Mr. Vinod Sawhny to step down as Chief Executive Officer of the Company with effect from September 30, 2016 to enable him and his family to relocate to New Delhi for personal reasons,” the company said.

“Mr. William (Bill) Barney and Mr. Gurdeep Singh, who are already working with the Company, will function as acting Co-CEOs of the Company with immediate effect,” it added.

Sawhney was brought in from rival Bharti Airtel as an experienced hand to guide the company’s move into value added telecom services such as Cloud Infrastructure and so on.

His departure comes in the wake of drastic changes in the way RCom is structured.

The company has already effected a merger with MTS and is in the process of merging again with Maxis Communications’ Aircel. RCom is controlled by Anil Ambani, whereas MTS was controlled by Russia-based Sistema. After the merger of RCom with MTS, the shareholders of RCom had seen their holding in the company come down to 90%.

Maxis will control 50% of the final RCom-MTS-Aircel entity.

The composition of the final board is not clear. Neither is it clear whether Maxis will bring in their own man to head the combined entity.

However, given Sawhney’s exit and his replacement by two co-CEOs, there is a chance that an entirely new candidate could be hired to head the company after the merger.

In his recent AGM speech, chairman of Reliance Communications Anil Ambani had said that his group had managed a virtual merger of the telecom entity with RIL’s Reliance Jio Infocomm.