Sandip Das will join Reliance Industries as the head of its 4G mobile venture, two executives with direct knowledge of the development said
NEW DELHI: Sandip Das, who will quit as the CEO of Malaysia's Maxis Communications next month, will joinReliance Industries as the head of its 4Gmobile venture, two executives with direct knowledge of the development said.
Full-fledged telecom re-entry plans of RILrecently received a boost as the telecom department cleared the proposal to allow 4G licence-holders to offer voice services. Reliance Jio Infocomm has been testing the service for months, and is expected to shake up the telecom market in the same way it did a decade ago with its affordable voice services bundled with low-cost handsets.
Reliance is the only company that has pan-India 4G airwaves and is set to launch services by the yearend. The RIL spokesperson said the company did not comment on individual hiring. Das did not reply to numerous text messages, calls and an email communication from ET.
Maxis on Tuesday said its CEO and executive directorSandip Das would step down on April 15, two months before his term expires, after the mobile phone company's board approved his request for an early release. During his six-year tenure with the Maxis Group, Das also oversaw the operations of its Indian arm Aircel.
His departure comes at a time beleaguered Aircel is in talks with banks to restructure its Rs 24,000-crore debt. In addition to Aircel, he is also on the board of several Maxis subsidiaries, such as Sri Lanka Telecom Plc, Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd in Sri Lanka and Bridge Mobile Pte Ltd. Das is widely credited with successfully executing Maxis' relisting in 2010, in what was Southeast Asia's biggest IPO worth over $3 billion.
He is also learnt to have played a key role in Aircel's success in the 3G and 4G spectrum auctions in 2010, where the company won airwaves in 13 and 8 circles, respectively. Das, who graduated as a mechanical engineer and did his MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies in the Delhi University, started his career in 1978 as a management trainee with the DCM Group and was divisional manager at the time of leaving in 1988. He then became the franchise head of Toyota cars and Hino trucks at Al Futtaim Motors, of the Al Futtaim Group, in Dubai, UAE.
Das returned to India to join Hutchison Max Telecom in 1994. He was the first employee of Hutchison Essar in India. After a 13-year stint at Hutchison Essar, where he rose to become the deputy managing director of the company, he joined Maxis as its chief executive officer. At RIL, he will work closely with Mukesh Ambani's close aide Manoj Modi, who is spearheading the 4G launch.
His team will consist of Mathew Oomen, the operational head of the 4G venture; Kiran Thomas, an assistant V-P at RIL; Jyotindra Thacker (the brother-in-law of Manoj Modi), who is the group's IT and systems head; Sumit Chowdhury, the chief information officer; and former OnMobile CEO Aravind Rao, its innovation head.