In a fresh setback, SREI Infrastructure Finance has suffered another blow as its CEO Rakesh Kumar Bhutoria resigned even as the company is going through the debt resolution process, sources said on Tuesday.
The pandemic induced lockdown severely dented the finances of the Kolkata-based NBFC, leading to an asset-liability mismatch.
Subsequently, the lenders of the company took control of its finances to recover their dues, triggering mass level exits at Srei Group, as salary delays became a routine, and remunerations of the top-level executives are capped at Rs 50 lakh per annum.
"CEO Rakesh Kumar Bhutoria has resigned from SREI (SIFL). These top-level employees are now exploring the option of taking legal recourse for release of their salary arrears, which has been held by banks controlling the TRA (Trust and Retention Account)," according to the sources privy to the development.
Even as Bhutoria's last working day is yet to be decided, the sources said the company has appointed a headhunter to scout for a suitable candidate for the new CEO.
"The headhunter has shortlisted a list of potential candidates, and they have even met the board of the company, as part of the interview procedure," according to the sources.
The lack of decision making by lenders in clearing salary arrears has led to the loss of professional talent, ultimately leading to the top-level exits, as they feel demotivated, said one of the sources.
A response from the company is awaited.
The chief operating officer (COO) of the company's fully-owned subsidiary Srei Equipment Finance Ltd (SEFL) had left in April. The company secretaries of SIFL and SEFL had resigned in March and May, respectively.
"Recently, the Head of Treasury and Head of Corporate Communications have also left," the sources said, adding about 230-250 employees of the SREI group have resigned since December 2020.