Vikram Akula, the poster boy of Indian microfinance who ran into trouble in the company he founded after it was listed, may be eyeing a return to its top post, with a key shareholder backing him.
SKS Trusts on Sunday sought the reinstatement of Akula, founder chairman who was ousted from the company two years ago, on the board of SKS Microfinance. With a 12.6% stake, the trust is now the single-largest shareholder of India’s only listed microlender.
Akula, a former executive at McKinsey who was educated at Tufts and Yale universities, founded the company in 1997.
“SKS Trusts has urged the board to induct Vikram Akula, its nominee, immediately,” said Biksham Gujja, chairperson of the trustee of SKS Trusts and a close aide of Akula. “We have nominated Vikram because he has extensive experience in microfinance and is uniquely qualified to help the company.
SKS Trusts is the sole trustee of five mutual benefit trusts (MBT) whose beneficiaries include self-help groups whose members borrowed from SKS Microfinance.
“I am truly honoured that the trusts have asked me to serve on the board of SKS Microfinance,” said Akula. “I will do my best to help SKS Microfinance achieve its mission and contribute to enhancing long-term shareholder value.”
Akula left the company in November 2011 following differences of opinion with the board amid a controversy on the interest rates charged by SKS, which ran into public protests and legal problems in Andhra Pradesh.