Idea Cellular MD Himanshu Kapania. Photo: Mint
New Delhi: Aditya Birla Group plans to give a bigger role to Idea Cellular Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Himanshu Kapania, including the first-ever position of vice-chairman at Grasim Industries, after the merger of the company’s telecom business with Vodafone. “Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla has internally announced that Himanshu Kapania will join the board of Grasim Industries as non-executive director and will be the company’s vice-chairman. This will be the first time in the history of Grasim that a vice-chairman will be appointed,” according to company sources.
When contacted, Idea Cellular declined to comment on the development.
Kapania, who has been with Idea Cellular since 2006, will also be appointed non-executive director of the merged business of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. He will also be an advisor to Birla on the company’s telecom business as director, telecom, Chairman Office, once the merger is complete, according to the source quoted above.
Birla will lead the new telecom entity, proposed to be named Vodafone Idea Limited, and Balesh Sharma, currently chief operating officer of Vodafone India, will be the CEO. Kapania has been leading operations of Idea Cellular as managing director and chief executive officer since 2011. However, the company has been posting losses since October-December quarter of 2016-17. In its last financial result before the merger with Vodafone India, Idea Cellular reported a total comprehensive income of Rs 263.6 crore during the April-June quarter, mainly on account of a one-time gain from the sale of mobile towers. The company had posted loss of Rs 816 crore in the same period a year ago.
Kapania will also be made a member of the group’s cement and aluminium business review councils, the source added.