CCD names interim chairman, will probe red flags in Siddhartha’s ‘letter’
Coffee Day Enterprises, the company that VG Siddhartha had founded, on Wednesday decided to elevate board member SV Ranganath as the interim chairman and Nitin Bagman as the chief operating officer. Ranganath was a non-executive independent director at the company and Bagamane is director on the board of a company subsidiary, Tanglin Developments Ltd.
The board met hours after the CCD founder’s body was found found by local fishermen and patrolling policemen on the banks of the Nethravathi river near Mangaluru. Police officers have said the coffee tycoon appeared to have thrown himself off the bridge but stressed that they could not rule out other possibilities till the investigation is over.
The board did not confirm the authenticity of a widely-circulated letter that VG Siddhartha had purportedly written but decided to have it thoroughly investigated. According to the board’s decisions filed with stock exchanges soon after, the board held that the authenticity of the letter is unverified.
Watch: When CCD Founder V.G. Siddhartha described his ambitions
“While... it is unclear whether these statements pertain to the Company or the personal holdings of Mr. V. G. Siddhartha, the Board took serious note of the same and resolved to thoroughly investigate this matter,” the company said in a regulatory filing.
Siddhartha, whose chain of cafes helped make coffee a lifestyle beverage and brought in latte, cappuccino and Americano into the urban Indian lexicon, was 69, a Press Trust of India report said. He is survived by his wife Malavika and two sons.
His body was identified by his friends, said Dakshina Kannada district Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil.
In the letter that has been attributed to Siddhartha, the entrepreneur had spoken about the tremendous pressure from lenders and some private equity players, attempted to insulate the company officials and family from the repercussions of some decisions and alleged harassment by a senior income tax department official.