Vodafone chairman tries to oust Sarin
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Vodafone chairman tries to oust Sarin

Lord MacLaurin is trying to remove NRI chief executive Arun Sarin from the board.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2006 16:14 IST

In a bitter boardroom battle, Lord MacLaurin, chairman of Vodafone has tried in vain to oust his NRI chief executive, Arun Sarin, at the company's recent board meeting in Madrid, a leading newspaper claimed today.

According to 'The Observer', the move has caused a split at the top of the world's largest mobile phone company and confirmed the prospect of instability in the boardroom until the arrival of HSBC's boss Sir John Bond, who takes over from MacLaurin in July.

The newspaper claimed that according to rumours Vodafone founder Sir Christopher Gent could be forced to resign as life president.

MacLaurin, who appointed Sarin as successor to Gent two years ago, became convinced that Sarin should go after meetings with key City shareholders, who told him that change was needed to restore confidence in the company, it said.

Vodafone's shares have languished and investors have insisted on sales of some operations as a way of boosting the stock price. Sarin bought time ten days ago by announcing the sale of the firm's Japanese offshoot.

In Madrid, MacLaurin sought to put the issue of Sarin's tenure at Vodafone to a vote of the full board. There followed individual meetings between MacLaurin, a former boss of TESCO, with the non-executives, but it soon became clear that the chairman would not be able to carry a vote to remove the Indian-born Sarin.

Last week, Sarin strengthened his position by removing Peter Bamford, chief marketing officer, who was seen as too pro-Gent and pro-MacLaurin, the report claimed.

First Published: Mar 13, 2006 16:14 IST