CHENNAI|MUMBAI: Aircel has made some senior-level appointments to fill up vacancies in key functions such as operations, finance and human resources, created by a series of C-suite exits beginning around the time debt-laden mobile phone operator had filed for bankruptcy protection back in March.
Sankara Narayanan, who had headed operations for the southern region, will now lead the vertical nationally for Aircel and its group companies, which includes Dishnet Wireless and other firms; Shiraz Khanna has been named financial controller and head of financial shares services in addition to his role of heading revenue assurance.
Ramesh V will now lead the function of HR for all circles, besides being in-charge of corporate human resources.
Emailed queries sent to Aircel on the management change remained unanswered till press time.
Aircel, in the mail announcing the leadership changes and accessed by ET, said the new roles “come with enormous challenges”. The company’s head of operations Vipul Saurabh and chief marketing officer Anupam Vasudev has resigned as well.
After the company formally approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) with an application for insolvency resolution in March, a slew of top-level resignations followed — CEO Kaizad Heerjee, who had warned of “difficult times” ahead quit in May.
The exits sent ripples of panic down the hierarchy, accentuated by non-payment of salaries. ET had reported a week ago that the telco, majority owned by Malasia’s Maxis, has offered its distributors less than 10% of their dues while employees remain unpaid since March.
About two weeks ago, interim resolution professional (IRP), Deloitte’s Vijaykumar Iyer, looking over Aircel’s asset monetisation, told the banks in the committee of creditors meeting that that they cannot hope to salvage their loans — worth nearly Rs 19,000 crore — unless they immediately pump in about Rs 200 crore to keep the operations going and maintain infrastructure.
Aircel’s last fund infusion was Rs 95 crore that it received from its Maxis in April, a large proportion of which was already exhausted from paying salaries and meeting operating expenses.
“In many circles, large portions of the human resources monitoring assets and other key functions such as finance have quit. There have not been replacements. The company should at least present a clear picture; we cannot be hanging on to false hopes,” said a mid-level business executive with Aircel.
“We are bound by confidentiality obligations and are unable to comment on client-specific matters,” said Deloitte to ET’s query on the management changes.
People familiar with the matter said the new appointments this week are likely to enable Aircel improve coordination between circles, and monitor its assets better. Besides holding spectrum airwaves, Aircel also possesses tens of thousands of fibre-optic network assets that need maintenance, which are tasks of ground-level employees.