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RCOM CEO Vinod Sawhny resigns

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Reliance Communications’ (RCom) CEO Vinod Sawhny has resigned from his post citing personal reasons, the company informed the BSE. The company has accepted the resignation with effect from 30th September 2016, and appointed William Barney and Gurdeep Singh as acting Co-CEOs.

Sawhny had joined RCOM in early 2014 as the CEO, after over 10 years at the Bharti Group, where he had been Joint President (Airtel Enterprises), Executive Director, CEO Airtel (Mobility) and President and COO of Bharti Retail. Sawhny did not detail his future plans.

Aircel merger: Sawhny’s resignation comes at a time when RCOM is in between a merger deal with Aircel Limited. Both companies had sent in their definitive proposal in June for regulatory approval. Both RCOM and Aircel had originally entered into talks in December last year. In March, the company extended the exclusivity period of discussions with Aircel by 60 days. The agreement is signed between the shareholders of Reliance and Malaysia’s Maxis Communications Berhad (MCB)—the shareholders of Aircel will create a merged entity wherein both RCOM and MCB will hold a 50% stake each.

Sistema deal awaiting approvals: Shareholders of Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL), which owns the MTS brand in India, approved the merger of the company with RCOM, in April this year. They’re currently awaiting further approval from the Rajasthan and Bombay High Court, after which RCOM is expected to approach the DoT with further filings.

Note that earlier in January, the BSE and NSE had both approved the merger deal following which in February, the Competition Commission of India too approved the merger deal.

CDMA migration: Earlier in June, it was reported that RCOM would shut down its CDMA services in all of its telecom circles except 4 circles – Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka – in a bid to migrate CDMA customers to its 4G network. In the same month, Gurdeep Singh, CEO of RCOM’s Consumer Business said in an earnings call that CDMA dongles will be upgraded to 4G Wi-Pods at nominal rates.

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