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OnMobile: On The Status Of Arvind Rao, Mouli Raman & Sanjay Uppal

Rumors have been flying thick and fast about the status of the top management at OnMobile, even before the board announced a change in mandate for its CEO & MD Arvind Rao. We wrote to OnMobile to confirm some of the rumors, and on the basis of their response, we’ve got the following: Rao is not taking his eyes off India operations, but the board might look for a person to handle India centric operations; co-founder and CTO Mouli Raman’s involvement has been “limited by personal constraints” in recent months, and President & COO Sanjay Uppal has moved to the US “in an advisory capacity in the short term”, while discussions with him for a long term association are underway. Detailed responses from Rajesh Kunnath, the recently appointed CFO who is now the company spokesperson:

MediaNama: Why has OnMobile changed (limited) Arvind Rao’s role without having appointed a CEO for India operations? What was the urgency?
Kunnath: The company has consistently maintained in the past that international operations are expected to grow disproportionately. To ensure that the deliverables and key projects are on track, Arvind has been requested to increase his focus on international operations. It does not in any way mean that he would take his eyes off Indian operations completely. To ensure that the India business also gets adequate focus during this phase, the day to day operations will be handled by the Operations Committee.

MediaNama: Is OnMobile looking for a full time CEO and/or Managing Director for OnMobile to replace Arvind Rao?
Kunnath: Arvind continues to be the CEO and MD of the company and a key member of the board as has always been the case thus far. Basis the scale up of international operations in the coming months, the Board will decide on the need for a person to handle India centric operations.

MediaNama:  Why does the Operations committee only comprise of H.H. Haight (representing an investor) and Naresh Chandra (the Chairman of the Audit Committee) and no people involved with the company’s operations?
Kunnath: As explained above, since this is an interim arrangement, the Board is of the view that a wider representation is not warranted as the second tier of management is fairly empowered to take decisions on operations

MediaNama:  How do you see the India operations being handled in the future, especially given the context that delivery is coming from India?
Kunnath: We don’t see any change in the India operations which is fairly stable and time tested

MediaNama: What is the status of Mouli Raman in the company? We’ve heard that he has been on extended leave, and not involved with operations for a while now?
Kunnath: Mouli continues to be associated with the operations though his involvement has been limited by personal constraints in recent months.

MediaNama: What is the role of Sanjay Uppal, President & COO at OnMobile?
Kunnath: Sanjay had informed the Board of his intent to relocate back to the US for family reasons basis which he has now been given the responsibility of the US market in an advisory capacity in the short term. Discussions on a long term association are underway.

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