I wasn’t pushed, Vodafone’s Sarin assures concerned Indians

July 29th, 2008 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS  

By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, July 29 (IANS) Vodafone Chief Executive Arun Sarin told Indian-origin shareholders at his last annual general meeting Tuesday that the decision to leave the company was entirely his. Sarin was invited to intervene after several Indian shareholders stood up to ask anxiously if the Indian-born CEO had been “pushed”, given that he was only 53 years old.

“I am assuming this is meant to be some kind of a backhanded compliment,” Sarin said amid laughter, adding that far from being pushed it was he who approached Vodafone Chairman Sir John Bond “six, eight months ago” asking to be relieved because he wanted to return to California.

He said when he joined Vodafone five years ago he had “a view: we wanted an international company, an integrated company, a real culture, a successful company”.

He said he wanted Vodafone to be not just in mobile telephony, but also be a leading player in broadband and internet provision.

“The things that I came to do, I’ve done,” Sarin said, adding that he now wanted to spend more time with his family and return to California.

“I came from California. There’s a desire on my part to go back to California. That’s all it’s about.

“I have done my bit. It’s now time for someone else to take this company forward. It was my decision. I went to John six, eight months ago.

“I want to spend some time with my family. And do something else. You’re right, I am only 53 and there are many things in one’s life you want to do other than be the chief executive of Vodafone.”

One of the questioners smiled at his response, looking a little more assured that a fellow Indian-origin man had not been “pushed” from his high-profile job.

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