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Home >Companies >News >Kumar Mangalam Birla steps down as Director of Vodafone Idea, request accepted by board

Vodafone Idea on Wednesday said the company's board of directors have accepted the request of Kumar Mangalam Birla to step down as Non-Executive Director and Non-Executive Chairman of the Board.

"The Board of Directors of Vodafone Idea Limited, at its meeting held today, have accepted the request of Mr Kumar Mangalam Birla to step down as Non-Executive Director and Non-Executive Chairman of the Board with effect from close of business hours on 4th August, 2021," the company said in a regulatory filing.

The board of directors have elected telecom veteran Himanshu Kapania, currently a Non-Executive Director, as a Non-Executive Chairman.

"Consequently, the Board has unanimously elected Mr Himanshu Kapania, currently a NonExecutive Director, as the Non-Executive Chairman. Mr Kapania, a nominee of the Aditya Birla Group, is a telecom industry veteran with 25 years of experience. This includes significant board experience in telecom companies globally. Mr Kapania has also served on the Global GSMA Board for two years and was also the Chairman of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) for two years. He is presently the Chairman of the FICCI Council on Telecom, Electronics and Digital Economy," the statement added.

Voda lost 2,700 cr in market cap Birla's letter

Vodafone Idea - struggling to clear AGR dues of over 50,000 crore - lost more than 2,700 crore in market cap, a day after a letter by Kumar Mangalam Birla - written in June to Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba - was made public.

In the letter, Birla had warned of a "looming crisis" and offered to transfer his 27.66% stake in the debt-laden telecom major to "any public sector/government/domestic financial entity, or any other the government may consider worthy, - to keep (VIL) going".

Birla also said that VIL's financial condition had "sharply deteriorated" despite "every possible effort to improve operational efficiency" and that 25,000 crore was required to "sustain VIL operations and pay regulatory/governmental dues".

"... without immediate support from the government... by July 2021... VIL's financial situation will (reach) an irretrievable point," Birla wrote in June, adding that his offer to transfer ownership was driven by a "sense of duty to the 270 million Indians connected by VIL".

He also said that potential (non-Chinese) investors "want to see clear government intent to have a three-player telecom market... through positive actions on long-standing requests, such as clarity on AGR liability, adequate moratorium on spectrum payments and, most importantly, a floor pricing regime above the cost of service". Without this investors are displaying "understandable hesitation", Birla added.

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