Anandita Singh Mankotia, ET Bureau | 7 Dec, 2013, 05.36AM IST
NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel Ltd. has sacked Jai Menon, group CIO and the company's director of global innovation & IT, for alleged code of conduct violations, multiple people familiar with the matter said.
"During an internal investigation, it was found that Menon had economic interests in some of the companies which were awarded (third party vendor) contracts," one of people told ET.
Spokesperson for the company, India's largest and the world's fourth largest mobile phone operator, confirmed Menon's exit, but didn't specify the reasons. Menon called the allegations "baseless" and denied that he had been asked to leave. He said that his exit from the company "sometime" earlier this month had been on the cards for a while.
"As I turn 50 in January, I have decided to move on after a wonderful and rewarding stint with Bharti. This has been part of my life plan to allow me to get back closer to deep-tech and research - from operations to creative innovation. All other rumours are speculative and baseless," Menon said in an e-mail. "I hope this puts to rest for good any speculation whatsoever."
However, a second person in the know of things said Menon's office was sealed on December 3 and he was asked to leave.
Menon joined Bharti AirtelBSE -0.98 % in 2002 and, in his latest position, was responsible for overseeing the entire network operations of the company, which included awarding contracts to various IT companies.
According to people familiar with the development, contracts for third party vendor outsourcing were allegedly given to certain select companies on Menon's directions.
Airtel has launched a full-fledged investigation into the matter, the people said.
Menon has had a stellar academic as well as a professional career and is considered a pioneer of the model of outsourcing network followed by Bharti Airtel, and then replicated by most in the industry in India and across the world.
Having completed his graduation in mechanical engineering from IIT Delhi, he did his Masters and Doctorate, both in computer science, from the reputed Cornell University in the US.
He started his career in March 1992 at IBM's T. J. Watson Research Labs, before rising up the ranks to become the executive director at the company's software group. He next did a two-year stint at AT&T, also in the US, rising to the position of executive vice president & corporate officer, product innovation (marketing). He quit the company in 2002 to return to India and join Bharti Airtel.