Kumar Mangalam Birla has rejoined the board of Vodafone Idea (Vi) as an additional non-executive director. On Thursday, the company's board of directors approved his appointment, which will take effect on April 20. It also accepted the resignation of non-executive director K K Maheshwari from the board.
Birla had stepped down from the post of non-executive chairman of the company in August 2021 barely two months after offering his entire stake to a public sector or a domestic finance company. Birla handed over the reign to group veteran Himanshu Kapania. Ravinder Takkar took charge as non-executive chairman replacing Kapania last August.
Birla’s return to the Vi board comes two months after government acquisition of a 33 per cent stake in the company. Vi received a lifeline with the government agreeing to convert the firm’s interest on spectrum and adjusted gross revenue into equity. While the government is now the largest shareholder, Birla and Vodafone Group Plc have around 18 per cent and 32 per cent stake each.
Birla’s appointment on the board signals the group’s commitment to the company as it continues its efforts to find an investor. The company which is yet to clear vendor dues has also been in talks with banks for raising fresh capital. Raising funds is crucial for the company to make fresh network investments and arrest subscriber loss. The company also continues to bleed and in Q3 FY 2023 posted a net loss of Rs 7,990 crore.