Sawhny set to return to Bharti Enterprises

Sawhny set to return to Bharti Enterprises

New Delhi: Vinod Sawhny is stepping down as president and chief operating officer of Bharti Retail Ltd, having set it up in 2006, and returning to parent company Bharti Enterprises Ltd.

Bharti denied that the move had any connection to Sawhny’s relationship with Raj Jain, the chief executive of Bharti Wal-Mart Pvt. Ltd – a 50:50 joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and US-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

“We would like to set the record straight that any talk of differences with Raj Jain are entirely speculative and without basis," a Bharti spokesperson said in an e-mailed response. “Having established the front-end retail business, Vinod is moving to the Bharti corporate office to take on a broader role. In his new role, he will be working closely with Rajan Bharti Mittal."

Apart from being a joint venture partner with Bharti Enterprises in the wholesale venture, Wal-Mart also provides technical and consultancy support to Bharti Retail.

Bharti Retail, which launched operations with convenience stores in Ludhiana in April 2008, plans to invest about $2.5 billion by 2015 with 10 million sq ft of retail space and 60,000 workers by then. The company currently operates about 50 stores in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and the National Capital Region.