Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Ex-CEOs launch telecom consulting start-up – India

Four former Indian Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) have started an angel partner firm, the Phi Group, to cater to the needs of both telecom and non-telecom businesses. The CEOs setting up the firm include Pramod Saxena (former CEO of Motorola and Essar Telecom), Ravi Sharma (ex-CEO of Alcatel-Lucent South Asia and Datacom Solutions), B D Khurana (former CEO of Reliance Infocomm) and Sanjiv Gupta (ex-CEO, Coca-Cola). Sanjiv Gupta is currently working as an independent director with state-owned BSNL.

The Phi Group will perform its operations through two subsidiaries, namely Phi Televentures and Phi Enterprises. The subsidiaries will offer advisory and management support to their clients. Phi Televentures will support companies for setting up their WiMAX, 3G, IPTV, MVNO and mobile TV operations, while Phi Enterprises will cater to the needs of other businesses such as defence, electronics, alternative energy, hospitality and infrastructure. The firm will, however, not infuse equity into any of its clients, although they may take equity in return for their services.

Commenting on the new venture, Ravi Sharma, prospective Chief Executive Officer of the new company, said: “We see a good opportunity to start a professional alternative for MNCs who are keen to set up operations in India, and feel that our combined experience of more than 50 years as CEOs will be valuable in setting up and growing operations of our partners. We all have worked with Indian and multinational companies to combine the strength. We feel India is ready for this new concept.”

In addition, the company has also roped in two former heads of global telecom companies for its international operations. Pertti Johansson will join as the Regional Director for Americas. Middle East, Asia and Africa region, while Sylvie Richir has been appointed as Regional Director for the European region.