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Pramod Saxena is BPL Mobile CEO

By Rajesh S Kurup in Mumbai
September 10, 2005 14:10 IST
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The Essar group has appointed telecom veteran and a key strategist of the group Pramod Saxena as chief executive officer of BPL Mobile, following the acquisition of a 64 per cent stake in the mobile service provider.

The group has also begun publishing its logo alongside that of BPL on all billboards and advertisements and official communications being sent to customers.

The appointment of Saxena follows Essar group's move to merge the operations of the acquired company BPL with itself.

Saxena would also be in charge of retaining BPL's existing customers and eventually moving them over to the Hutch network, sources close to the development said.

He was the country head (India) of the global handset maker Motorola and was later roped in by the Ruias to head the rollout of the group's mobile services in India.

At present, he is a director with the group. Sources in BPL said Saxena's appointment was as a "representative of the Essar Group in the acquired entity".

Both the company logos would be printed on all advertisements and official stationery till the merger was completed, they added.

Essar had acquired a 64 per cent stake in BPL Communications, the holding company of the group. The acquisition cost was estimated to be around Rs 5,200 crore (Rs 52 billion), including debt.

BPL Communications owns a 74 per cent stake in BPL Mobile Communications (operators of Mumbai circle) and 100 per cent in BPL Mobile Cellular (operators in Maharashtra and Goa, and Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry and Kerala) and has a total of 26 lakh subscribers.

Prior to the acquisition, BPL was headed by Rajiv Chandrasekhar , while his father-in-law TPG Nambiar was in helm of the operations as chairman.

Hutchinson Whampoa, the owners of Hutch brand and the Ruia group (Indian partners) had decided to consolidate all operations into a new entity Hutchison Essar, including that of BPL Communications post acquisition.

The Ruias-owned Essar Telecom holds a 30 per cent stake in the Hutch India, which was to remain unchanged after the merger.

After the merger, the combined entity would have a total subscriber base of 1.10 crore across 21 circles and will be the largest GSM operator in the country.

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