Micromax ropes in former Airtel CEO Sanjay Kapoor as chairman

Micromax India chairman Sanjay KapoorTelecom devices maker Micromax Informatcs Ltd on Thursday announced the appointment of former Bharti Airtel CEO Sanjay Kapoor as chairman, as the company gears up to become the country's top smart phone player.

Kapoor also joined the promoter group of Micromax, currently India's second-largest smart phone maker and the 10th largest mobile phone maker in the world.

The announcement comes a week after Micromax announced the hiring of Samsung India's mobile chief.

Kapoor resigned from Bharti Airtel, India's largest private telecom operator, in May last year.

"Sanjay brings with him a global experience, something which we at Micromax are looking forward to as we see the new age of high data usage and better technically equipped smart devices explode around us," Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma said.

The move also reflects the company's vision of stepping up to the next phase of growth as Micromax continues the journey to become India's number one smart phone player and the first Indian mobile brand to be successful globally, Sharma added.

Micromax hopes to leverage Kapoor's experience in telecom services and his industry expertise.

"I am excited as an entrepreneur to be a part of the promoter group and as a professional to lead the Micromax board and management. I look forward to adding value to all stakeholders leveraging my strengths in building scale, developing brands and understanding consumers," Kapoor said.

He added, Micromax was a very vibrant youth brand that had led the democratisation of technology for the masses, offering affordable innovations to the consumers.

"Proliferation in data services and cutting-edge devices that make technology affordable for masses will be critical for next phase of growth and I am confident that Micromax will lead this transition," he said.

Kapoor had played an active role in prominent industry fora such as GSMA, CII, COAI and NASSCOM over the past 13 years and Micromax expects the move to help strengthen its position in the segment.

Micromax had last week roped in Samsung India's mobile and IT business chief Vineet Taneja as chief executive officer. In May, it appointed senior Bharti Airtel executive Badal Bagri as chief financial officer.

Smart phone sales in the country grew almost three-fold to over 44 million in 2013, buoyed by affordable devices made by local firms such as Micromax and Karbonn, according to International Data Corporation.

In the first quarter of 2014, the country shipped 17.59 million smart phones compared with 6.14 million in the same period of 2013.

Samsung maintained its leadership in the smart phone market with a 35 per cent market share in Q1, followed by Micromax (15 per cent), Karbonn (10 per cent), LAVA (6 per cent) and Nokia (4 per cent), according to IDC.

Gurgaon-based Micromax makes handsets, 3G data cards, tablets, LED televisions and smart sticks. It was co founded by Rajesh Agarwal, Vikas jain, Rahul Sharma and Sumeet Kumar in 2000 as a software company and started making mobile handets in 2010.