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Who is Arun Sarin?

By rediff Business Desk
January 10, 2007 17:18 IST
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Arun Sarin is the chief executive officer of Vodafone Group Plc, the United Kingdom-based global mobile operator.

Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin. He has been mandated by the company's board of directors to pursue a cash offer for India's fourth-largest mobile firm Hutchison Essar. Vodafone's move to enter the fray to buy out Hutch-Essar has heated up the race with Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani too eyeing to pick up a stake in the telecom firm.

Vodafone boss Sarin was also non-executive director of Vodafone, Charles Schwab Corp, Cisco Systems and Gap Inc, till such time as he took over as Vodafone CEO.

An India-born United States citizen and Indian Institute of Technology graduate with a Bachelor in Science (Engineering), Sarin gained a Master in Science (Engineering) and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of California, at Berkeley in 1978.

He started his career as a management consultant before moving, in 1984, to the Pacific Telesis Group in San Francisco. Commencing in corporate development, he was instrumental in the company acquiring the first cellular licences in the US as well as winning the first cellular licence in Germany and a personal communications network licence in the United Kingdom.

He was subsequently appointed as chief financial officer and chief strategy officer at Pacific Bell, before moving on to become vice-president and general manager, San Francisco Bay Area Telephone Company, a Pacific Bell division with 12,000 employees.

Following the demerger from Pacific Telesis of the mobile and paging businesses to form AirTouch Communications, Arun was appointed senior vice-president, corporate strategy and development, where he was instrumental in developing and implementing a growth strategy encompassing partnerships and acquisitions, which included the merger with the US West wireless business.

On becoming the president and the chief executive officer, AirTouch International, Sarin was responsible for the acquisition of wireless licences in several overseas territories and establishing the management teams of these new ventures.

He then became president and CEO of AirTouch Communications where he was responsible for managing the cellular and paging operations in 14 countries and was a key negotiator in the successful acquisition of AirTouch by Vodafone Group Plc. Within the combined business he was CEO US/Asia Pacific region, managing the group's operations in the US, Asia and Australia.

In addition, he headed the Global Technology division, responsible for the introduction of wireless internet services.

In 2000, with the successful merger of Vodafone AirTouch's US businesses with those of Bell Atlantic and GTE to form Verizon Wireless, Sarin, whilst maintaining a non-executive directorship of Vodafone AirTouch Plc, became CEO of Infospace.

In 2001 he joined Accel-KKR Telecom, a telecom investment and management business, where he evaluated numerous opportunities in the telecommunications industry around the world and oversaw the acquisition of Bell Canada's Yellow Pages business.

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