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Arohan founder-cum-CEO steps down as the MFI rejigs board

Michael Dell backed Arohan, a micro finance company that was taken over by IntelleCash Microfinance Network in 2012, has shown the door to its founder and chief executive.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jan 11, 2016, 11.06 PM IST
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Michael Dell backed Arohan, a micro finance company that was taken over by IntelleCash Microfinance Network in 2012, has shown the door to its founder and chief executive Shubhankar Sengupta, making it the second high profile exit in the industry after the poster boy of micro finance Vikram Akula was thrown out of SKS Microfinance five years ago.
Michael Dell backed Arohan, a micro finance company that was taken over by IntelleCash Microfinance Network in 2012, has shown the door to its founder and chief executive Shubhankar Sengupta, making it the second high profile exit in the industry after the poster boy of micro finance Vikram Akula was thrown out of SKS Microfinance five years ago.
KOLKATA: Michael Dell backed Arohan, a micro finance company that was taken over by IntelleCash Microfinance Network in 2012, has shown the door to its founder and chief executive Shubhankar Sengupta, making it the second high profile exit in the industry after the poster boy of micro finance Vikram Akula was thrown out of SKS Microfinance five years ago.

Arohan has officially maintained that Sengupta's ousted was part of a board level reorganisation to accommodate new investors and more independent directors, but speculation within the industry suggests that ever since IntelleCash acquired the majority share at Arohan and brought in new investments, Sengupta had lost his footing within the company which he founded in 2006 with the support of Bellwether.

"Our philosophy at the Intellecap Group has been to have independent director led boards with investor and management representatives to guide the operating team on strategic decision making ,seeing the future trends and growing the business," managing director Manoj Kumar Nambiar told ET. The latest investor in Arohan was Tano Capital, which put in Rs 60 crore worth of equity early last year while the existing investors raised their holdings as well.

Accordingly, Piyush Goenka from Tano Capital has come on board, while Sanjib Jha from IntelleCash & Shubhankar Sengupta from the management side stepped down. The company has also inducted KC Vaid as a new nominee director from Small Industries development Bank of India last month.

Intellecash acquired a controlling stake at Arohan in September 2012 when the Kolkata-based micro lender was facing turbulence post the MFI crisis in 2010 and looking for capital. Intellecash holds close to 30% stake in Arohan at present with Aavishkaar Goodwell having the second largest interest with about 25% stake, according to senior officials at Arohan.

Sengupta still holds 1.5% share in Arohan and he will continue to remain with Arohan as a consultant till August.

"I am planning to seek new challenges in the social enterprise space and will take the next few months to firm up on my sector of interest," Sengupta said in his parting letter addressed to the `Arohan Family'.

"I would now like to turn my energies to some other sector which has the potential to impact the lives of the poor in a significant way," he said in the letter, making a reference to sectors such as renewable energy, skill building, education, health and agri-processing as his next possible areas of interest. Sengupta told ET that by January he would firm up his next plan.

"Shubhankar after spending 17 years in the microfinance sector and 10 years in setting up & building up Arohan wanted to move onto the next stage of his entrepreneurial in the broader social sector. We appreciate what he has done at Arohan, respect his decision and have been very supportive of his future aspirations," Nambiar said.
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