Bharti Airtel’s Payments Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Shashi Arora has quit. In normal circumstances, this would have been just another top CEO exiting. But the circumstances under which he has left have generated much discussions.
While Arora and the company said he has resigned on his own two weeks ago, sources say he has been removed from his roles because of the last few days’ controversy on the process adopted to open payments bank accounts without subscribers ‘informed consent’. This had led the Unique Identification Authority (UIDAI) to take action.
BusinessLine contacted Arora on phone, and he said January 31 will be his last day in the company and he will be joining a new sector though still based in the Delhi-NCR.
“I quit a couple of weeks ago and I am on notice period till January 31. I will be joining a non-financial-non-banking industry post that. I have been serving notice period and incidentally I will be completing 12 years with the company on January 31,” Arora said.
Queried whether he was asked to leave by the company, owing to the allegations from UIDAI, Arora said that it was not true and his decision on resigning from the company was on work for long.
“It was on the works for long and I have been discussing with the company on the same,” he added.
When asked Airtel, a company spokesperson also said that Arora had ‘resigned and not sacked’, adding that he has been an asset for Airtel, and over the years has contributed to the company’s growth story. “Shashi Arora has been associated with Airtel in senior leadership roles since 2006. Having led the operations in key telecom circles followed by building a strong DTH business, he has laid the foundation for Airtel’s Payments Bank operations. Shashi has decided to move on to pursue opportunities outside of Airtel,” the company said.
Arora joined Airtel in February 2006 and was appointed as the CEO of Bharti Telemedia, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel that provides DTH services in August 2011. Under his leadership, the DTH business had doubled its subscriber base as well as revenue, with over two-third of the new customers coming from rural India.
Prior to this, he was part of Airtel’s Mobile business, and has served as CEO of the Upper North cluster (Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and J&K) as well as CEO of the Delhi Circle.
UIDAI bars Airtel In its allegations, the UIDAI had temporarily barred Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using e-KYC process as well as e-KYC of payments bank clients.
As per the allegations, the company was using the Aadhaar-eKYC based SIM verification process to open payments bank accounts of its subscribers without their ‘informed consent’.
However, after a temporary suspension, the UIDAI has allowed Airtel to resume Aadhaar-based e-KYC services till January 10.