May 28, 2008


Sarin times his exit just right

In July 2006, Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin survived the shareholder revolt. Two years later when Sarin managed to bring the company back in black (shouldn't they call it green for the colour of money?), he has decided to hand over the reigns to deputy. The adjectives used in headline to describe Sarin's move are "shock"(BBC), "surprise"(Forbes) and "unexpected"(NYT).

In past, I have talked about timing exit in the context of Sachin Tendulkar. To repeat, one should leave when people ask "why now" instead of "why not now." In that sense, Mr Sarin has got the timing immaculate. Kudos to you, Sir!

[Update] Om Malik suggests, "Sarin should move to Bharti Telecom and help that company become a global telecom." Some 3 years back, Sarin entered India by acquiring 10% stake in Bharti. I suppose, he picked 10% because he couldn't pick 51% or 100%. Mr Mittal patiently explained to everybody that that Vodafone will not be a big brother. Few months later, Vodafone acquired Bharti's rival Hutch and liquidated their holding in Bharti (and earned a tidy profit in a short term.) At that time, Sarin gave the commands to Hutch team to become # 1 player in 3 years by beating Bharti and others. After so many eventful days, how likely it is that Mr Sarin will join Bharti with Mittal as boss?


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